“…”ors” divide less than they subtly link…” ~ Aphra Behn, OR
OR is a wonderfully witty walk on the wild side with Aphra Behn (1640-89), a spy, poet, and England’s first professional female playwright. Set in London, 1660, after Charles II has been reinstated as King of England, Liz Duffy Adams’s rollicking historical romp explores Behn’s remarkable life, her passion for writing, and for attractive members of either sex.
During the preceding Cromwellian era, theater had been banned, but after Charles’s return to the crown, commencing the Restoration period, the arts were at liberty to flourish and women were finally free to take the stage. Directed with superb attention to detail and subtleties by Aaron Cromie, packed with lovely lilting prose and some fervently funny lines, and performed by three very versatile and talented thespians, Kittson O’Neill as Aphra Ben, Brock D. Vickers as King Charles II (and others) and Allison Bloechl as actress Nell Gwynne (and others) Hedgerow’s OR is more than merely amusing; it is a worthy work of art.
Kittson O’Neill balances the scandalous Behn with sexiness and strength, playfulness and ambition as her character dallies with love intrigues between frequently dipping her pen ink to write. She is poetry in motion hiding lovers, juggling surprise visitors while trying to complete her play by deadline. Brock D. Vickers flips from Charles II to Scott with ease, charming both roles to the hilt with his infamous terrific comedic timing. His expressions and physicality are flawless. Allison Bloechl gives sparkle and verve to her characters, receiving some of the heartiest laughs from the audience as audacious big bottomed maid, and when she skirrs across the stage in an huge hooped dress, speaking as impossibly fast as she is moving as Lady Davesport!
The terrific Tudor style set (Zoran Kovcic) is further enhanced by a subtle lighting scheme, and sound (Jared Reed), and renaissance reminiscent music. Gorgeous period costumes (Licia Guilday, Elizabeth Hanson) and props (Grey Kelsey, Susan Wefel) further help create an authentic atmosphere for this outrageously antic, well-applauded play.
[Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Media, PA]; January 28-February 29, 2016; hedgerowtheatre.org
Note: Sexual content and language may not be suitable for children.