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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

Maid Marian as Action Hero

A new kind of ‘Lady in Waiting’

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Playwright/actress Liz Shipe deftly juggles action, comedy and drama with her latest. A Lady in Waiting relates a variation on the Robin Hood legend told from the perspective of a capable, independent Maid Marian and her companion, Aria.

Shipe’s script plays very much like a live studio-theater staging of a Hollywood action film without all the explosions and tedious violence. What we’re left with is the heart of the wit and passion of an action story that resonates through a remarkably breezy two-act presentation.

Focusing on the women of an ancient British folk legend renders the story with a refreshingly balanced male/female dynamic. There may be only a couple of women in the cast, but they thrive at the center of the ensemble. Shipe plays an admirable Marian who chafes against the unenviable position of a noblewoman in ancient England. Here she’s designed a role for herself that fits her remarkably well. Kelly Doherty plays Marian’s friend and companion, Aria. Doherty and Shipe have worked together in the past and built up a clever rapport that’s a lot of fun to watch.

The rest of the cast fits into place quite nicely. Zach Thomas Woods gathers together a scrappy charm in the role of Robin Hood. Rasell Holt dashingly plays to the law-abiding side of heroism as Robin’s childhood friend Guy of Gisborne. Matthew J. Patten compellingly plays a similarly sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham. David Sapiro cleverly plays a wandering minstrel who has taken up with Robin Hood and his men.

Theater RED’s A Lady In Waiting continues through Aug. 23 at Soulstice Theatre (3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave.). For tickets, visit theaterred.com.