Written by: Arthur M. Jolly
Directed by: James Kiesel
Gryphon Theatre, 29th Nov 2023
Reviewed by: Zac Fitzgibbon
Oh, how delightful, a story with sword fights and shenanigans. What fun!
Set in the 1700s, The Lady Demands Satisfaction is a farce following the peppy Trothe Pepperston (Sarah Penny) as she enlists the help of her two favourite servants (Tristana Leist and Teresa Sullivan) and her sword master aunt Theodosia (Gwendoline Guerineau) to ward off any challengers that try to take advantage of her inheritance following her father’s untimely death.
Starting with shadow swordplay, the opening splendidly sets the scene. What follows is sustained side-splitting laughter continuing up until the bows. Did I mention sword fights?
The fight scenes, coordinated by Simon Manns, are both hilarious and mesmerising. The characters are so willing to pick a fight that they would do so with any household item they could get their hands on.
Meredith Dooley’s costume design has got to be one of the many highlights of this Stagecraft Theatre production. Dooley’s design provides period-accurate costumes but with a colourful, zany flair, perfectly illustrating the essence of the play. So much effort has been put into these costumes, even all of Trothe’s handkerchiefs match her beautiful crinoline dress.
Through gobos and candlelight, Scott Maxim’s lighting design creates an atmosphere that works perfectly with the costume and set design (Josh Hopton-Stewart) to create a cosy Georgian manor. A perfect setting for this rambunctious series of events to melodramatically unfold.
Charismatic comedic characterisation must be commended. Each actor is a master of comedy. Penny truly encapsulates her character of Trothe Pepperston, from the way she awkwardly trots to her squeals of laughter. Guerineau’s sensational sword fighting is something splendid to witness. The entire cast maintains a hilarious presence throughout the show.
I am still struggling to grasp how engaging and funny this fever dream of a play is. I would urge you to book tickets at once before any Prussian master takes your place and you’ll be left for dead without seeing this hilarious Stagecraft show.