Directed by Catherine Weidner
Produced by Caffine Theatre
At the Flatiron Building, Chicago
A rollicking, bodice-ripping farce has its moments
“Here in debtor’s prison I do lie
For lack of funds promised me as your spy.
To nag and scold my own adored king
Believe me, pains me more than anything.
But justice to myself demands no less
Than princely favor and full recompense.” – Aphra Behn from Or,
In an enchanting and entertaining blend of Restoration melodrama spoken in rhyming verse and modern door-slamming farce, Or, is a fast-paced comedy with hints of intrigue.
It’s main character is the 17th Century Restoration poet/spy Aphra Behn (Megan Kohl) who tries desperately to finish her breakthrough play when her ex-lover and fellow spy William Scot (Edward Karch) arrives to tell her of a plot to assassinate her current lover King Charles II (also Edward Karch). The story gets extremely complicated when sexual identities and strange desires become blatant when Orange girl-turned actress Neil Gwynne (the hilarious Kay Kron) is present to seduce both men and women. Can Aphra ever finish her script due to sexual advances from Neil, Charles and William? Alpha must foil the plot and finish her play all before morning.
This funny farce deftly moves from Restoration drama written in rhyming verse to vulgar prose ripe with obscenities. While Megan Kohl nicely plays Aphra, Edward Karch and Kay Kron deliciously move around six other characters. The result is a raucous farce smartly written and effectively played by the three players. Kay Kron steals her scenes and Edward Karch rolls through his quick-change rituals. The effect is a one hour and twenty minute comic adventure that never takes itself too seriously but it lands enough humor to capture our hearts. Alarie Hammock’s costumes add color as they help define each character. Or, is a cute, well acted show that uses just enough Restoration melodrama and modern farce to stimulate our interest. It is worth a look.
At Collaboration Theatre at the Flatiron Building, 1575 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, call 312-409-4778, tickets $20 with senior.student discounts, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is one hour, twenty minutes without intermission, through December 4, 2011