I love a good mystery. I enjoy a book pulling me into a series of mazes and letting me navigate my way to the conclusion. I also lean toward a female heroine solving the crime. Two of my favorite series are written by Janet Evanovich and Jacqueline Winspear. Evanovich writes about the comical adventures of a Jersey bondswoman. Winspear writes about a sophisticated English woman solving crimes in the early 1900’s. I love them equally and differently. And this play is an amalgamation of both. It’s Stephanie Plum meets Maisie Dobbs.
The Babes with Blades presents the world premiere of SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE. It’s London 1900. Susan Swayne is patrolling the streets looking for a prostitute killer. During her midnight vigil, she is attacked by a distraught wife. Isabelle Fontaine-Kite believes Susan to be having an affair with her husband. Through “techniques of forceful persuasion”, Susan convinces Isabelle that there has been a mistaken identity. Isabelle relents and agrees to enlist Susan’s underground crime fighters, Society of Lady Detectives, to find her missing husband. What happens next is mysterious blade twisting. SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE is Agatha Christie with sass and ovaries of steel.
Winner of the Babes with Blades’ Sword and Pen Competition, Playwright Reina Hardy has written a highly amusing play to showcase the swashbuckling talents of the Babes. The script is clever. A major plot-point is truly surprising. And these characters are the burning-corsets-rebels of their time period. Under the direction of Dan Foss and fight choreography of Libby Beyreis, the talented Babes verbally and physically duel with energetic refinement. In the lead, Lisa Herceg (Susan) is sensational. For me, Herceg is a reincarnation of Rosalind Russell. She delivers wise-cracking dialogue with my-girl-Friday-Auntie-Mame moxie. Foss stages a hilarious wardrobe change on stage for Herceg and Kelly Yacono (Katherine). They are not visible, behind a makeshift screen, heightening the hilarity of the scene. Yacono is the perfect comedic match for Herceg’s no-nonsense persona. Yacono charms being both overly lovestruck and later trashed.
I love the notion of these prim and proper ladies establishing a covert fight club in ye ole Victorian England. Fantastic! The entire ensemble captivates with fearless chivalry and Brit wit! What’s up next for this Society of Lady Detectives? I want to see more of their hat shop adventures. SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE is the first in its series… I hope!
Running Time: One hour and forty-five minutes includes an intermission
At Lincoln Square Theatre, 4754 N. Leavitt
Written by Reina Hardy
Directed by Dan Foss
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 2pm
Thru September 22nd