the cast of Swordplay: A Play of Swords. Photo by John Gundy.
Sex T-Rex’s Swordplay: A Play of Swords, which plays until September 11th as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival, is a swashbuckling epic adventure of filmic scope deftly brought to life with beautiful and creative theatricality and nonstop hilarity.
As in a futuristic The Princess Bride, a grandfather, born in the 1980s, brings his sick granddaughter an old video game to play, where three Musketeer-like comrades, Roland, Salvatore and Barnabas are serving the Princess Pimpernel, when suddenly Roland burns to death in a fire and Pimpernel is kidnapped by the evil Baron Thorne. It is up to Barnabas and Salvatore to save the day. What is so wonderful about this story is that what comes next is entirely unexpected, jammed with popular culture references that are woven elegantly into the story and the characters’ development, and creatively culminating in gruesome sword fights and all the plot points coming together tightly in a most satisfying way.
Sex T-Rex is a comedy troupe made up of highly skilled improvisers, and Swordplay: A Play of Swords shows how long-form sketch comedy can be pushed to its limit where it melds into devised playwriting and Swordplay: A Play of Swords is an excellent example. The physicality of the cast combined with the imaginative vision of Director Alec Toller proves that theatre is still the perfect medium for creating the impossible. We are taken across seas, on to a dragon, through video game green tubes, and swinging from chandeliers, with immediacy and silliness abound. Simultaneously, Sex T-Rex creates an entire world for us to wholeheartedly believe in, while also poking fun at how little they need in props and sets (foam swords, cutout set pieces, and a large piece of fabric) to achieve this feat. The fight choreography by Kevin MacPherson is both fierce and joyful, if morbidly so, and the music choices add another dimension of cinematic proportions and pop culture bliss.
Get thee forth, on thy honour, and sit thy arse down, and play.
This review has been updated & re-posted from July, 2015.
SwordPlay: A Play of Swords plays at the Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) as part of The Atlantic Fringe Festival at the following times:
Saturday Sept 3rd, 12:00PM & 11:50PM
Sunday Sept 4th, 4:50PM
Monday Sept 5th, 8:10PM
Thursday Sept 8th, 5:30PM
Friday Sept 9th, 6:45PM
Sunday Sept 11th, 1:00PM