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Review: THE REVOLUTIONISTS at Stage Left Productions

A Comedy, Quartet, Revolutionary Dream Fugue

Review: THE REVOLUTIONISTS at Stage Left Productions

First, a bit of background. Prolific American playwright Lauren Gunderson is a Phoenix favorite; think SILENT SKY at Phoenix College (and the Hale Centre Theater in 2023), JUSTICE and THE HEATH at Arizona Theatre Company, THE BOOK OF WILL at Phoenix Theatre and THE REVOLUTIONISTS at Stage Left Productions through May 29 (adult cast).

THE REVOLUTIONISTS is a semi-revisionist 'her-story' set in Paris during the 1793 Reign of Terror. Gunderson threads together four unlikely, yet presumably possible stories about playwright Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793), composite Caribbean badass/spy Marianne Angelle, assassin Charlotte Corday (1768-1793) and Queen Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). Yes, there is a theme in their death dates.

Forget for a moment that they cross paths and use colorful language that seems period-inappropriate, such as Marianne's, "A feminist comedy? Girl, don't." Relish instead in her verbal nuggets like, "Fiction doesn't matter if you're only using it to hide from reality." But no one hides in this production. Not the actresses (actors, if you prefer) and certainly not the audience.

As Olympe, Cindy Covington's animated performance keeps things moving frenetically along. As Marianne, Katryce Bridges brings just the right amount of sass and sincerity. As Charlotte, Jillian Walker delivers a do-or-die performance. And as Queen Marie, Suze St. John serves up royal laughs and a few insights.

From a production standpoint, set designer Leroy Timblin makes the most of his versatile, multi-level set; Cody Dull and Suze St. John spare no fabric for their award-worthy costumes; and Lisa Kurvink's hair and make up round out the French Rev-illusion.

As Marianne reminds Olympe, "You can't write the world if you're not in it!" And you can't see this adult-cast in THE REVOLUTIONISTS at Stage Left after May 29. By the way, the script doesn't change for the teen-cast performances, June 4-5.



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From This Author - Lee Cooley

Lee Cooley started freelancing as a film critic in 1978. After more than 20 years in TV, radio and advertising, he started the non-profit phase of his career (Make-A-Wish America, Valley Youth Theatre)... (read more about this author)

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