REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Swordswomen of San Gimignano

A Comedy by Mike Brayndick

The Swordswomen of San Gimignano
The Swordswomen of San Gimignano


Produced by On the Spot Theatre Ensemble

& New Rock Theater

At New Rock Theater, Chicago

Lack of projection and a noisy air conditioner doom period comedy

You would that when the overhead air conditioner was turned on that the director (who was present at the performance I attended) or the stage manager would tell the cast that they need to speak louder and project more to be heard over the constant hum of the AC unit. But they did NOT and most of the dialogue was either spoken too soft or mumbled so much as to unintelligible. That is a major problem with a play!

The Swordswomen of San Gimignano

From the opening scene that found two young girls speaking too fast so as to be very hard to understand, I knew the show was in trouble. Next, the show’s premise contains the assertion that women during the High-Renaissance in the Italian town of San Gimignano were schooled in sword fighting was given as fact. Did women actually sword fight? I doubt that. This two hour + play is billed as a comedy but with few laughs and too much hokey attempts at commedia dell’arte by David Servillo’s Jacopo and Amy Dellagiarino’s Lucrezia.

The Swordswomen of San Gimignano

This slowly paced show contained sword play that look like a slow-motion reply that found the swords persons grabbing their opponents blade with their off hand. Really?

The Swordswomen of San Gimignano

The acting in this show contained inept players whose wooden acting, mumbled speech, and sing-song verbal pacing not only made the show tedious but also boring. The musical and dance interludes and cornball attempts at commedia dell’arte quickly became irritating.

Writer/director Mike Brayndick has a cast of near amateur players who uniformly were miscast.  Given the complex material, one would assume a director would find more experienced and articulate players to tell his story? Then again he did cast two of his relatives in the show. I was amazed that he was not aware that his cast couldn’t be heard over the din of the AC. Sometimes being too close to a show can spell trouble. Maybe a worthy play is contained here but I couldn’t hear enough to know.

Not Recommended

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: August 4, 2011

For more info on The Swordswomen of San Gimignano page on

At New Rock Theater, 3933N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-639-5316, tickets $20, $15 student/seniors, $10 children with adults, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission,through August 21, 2011

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