Alicia Rice as Duchess Penti Celia is flanked by
Abigail King, left, and Niko King in “The
Wayward Women” by Theater Red.
- There are times when reviewers are stumped for words
after seeing a play. This is one of them for me.
Elizabethan comedy “Wayward Women” by Jared McDaris
is not only not very funny, but I’m not sure just
where it was going. It was trying to say something about
the differences between the sexes, but just what that
message was came across as quite muddled.
Shakespearian-wannabe playwright dabbled in lofty
language, which the energized actors executed with
vigor, but the end result was not all that satisfying.
men, Cordelius and Julian, ostracized from their own
country for some vague sexual indiscretion committed on
the part of Cordelius with his girlfriend Charlotte,
find themselves headed for an island occupied by women
order to gain entry, Cordelius suggests that Julian
dress like a woman, so they will be more readily
are welcomed by Duchess Penti Celia and are soon getting
a lot of attention as women compete for Cordelius’
women are a rather contentious lot as they vie for power
and rank. There is some sort of pecking order here -
Duchess, Magistress, Amazons, Dames and Squires. They
will even resort to violence, which proves that neither
gender is immune to it.
societies seem to be rampant with conflict, even the
so-called gentler-sex varieties.
the fact that the whole cast could tone it down a bit
because The Alchemist Theatre is very small, all the
actors were trying their best to convey the message and
reveal their characters; maybe trying too hard. It
seemed labored at times.
standouts in the cast include both Timothy Rebers as
Cordelius and his cohort Zach Thomas Woods as Julian.
Both provided many of the laughs, especially
Woods, who overacts sometimes, but is quite talented.
the women, Jennifer A. Larsen as Dame Grendela (who
overacts at times), Brittany Curran as Squire Pinne and
LeAnn Vance as Squire Aquiline shone in their roles.
Curran was the most charming of the women in a
group that pretty much lacked charm. She also provided
some melodious moments.
costumes by Katlyn Rogers were interesting, and the
swordplay well-directed by Christopher Elst.
bit more history on how this female society came to be
and what their goals were would have been helpful as
background. They were definitely not anti-men,
considering their response to Cordelius’ presence.
liked the surprise ending when the men are forced to
make a decision as to their future. I wouldn’t
strongly recommend this production, but go see it for
yourself. Maybe you’ll love it.
“The Wayward Women”
play runs through July 22 at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569
S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee. Performances are at
7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.