Presented by The Queen's Company at the Connelly Theatre, 220 E. Fourth St., NYC, April 25-May 18.
Aphra Behn was the first woman writer who made a living as a playwright. The Queen's Company, an all-female acting company, had an inspired idea to revive her rarely seen Restoration comedy "The Lucky Chance." In this play about the choice of love or money, Behn went so far that she was accused of immorality in an age when the English stage had never been bawdier.
Director Rebecca Patterson mixed modern pop music with period acting, costumes from various eras with Restoration wit, and a company of 11 actresses playing 27 roles. The use of a unit setting by Jeremy Woodward allowed this complicated five-act plot to move swiftly.
In "The Lucky Chance," two rich old lechers, an alderman and a banker, have conspired against a couple of heiresses, stealing them from their young lovers. All the young lovers are required to resort to stratagems to outwit the establishment through wit and ingenuity. This high comedy with low clowning shows us the 17th-century women who dared to break the rules and the men who loved them.
Most elegant was Jena Necrason as Julia, married off to the decrepit Sir Cautious. Again playing the male lead, as she did in "Antony and Cleopatra," DeeAnn Weir demonstrated pizzazz as Julia's put-upon lover, Gayman. As his friend Belmour, who has falsely been reported dead to his fiancée, Leticia, Virginia Baeta was amusing in various disguises. Ami Shukla's Leticia was a very animated young lady. Valentina McKenzie and Gisele Richardson were comic caricatures as the old scheming rogues.
In supporting roles, Shanti Elise Prasad was suitably demure as Diana, Shauna Miles made her unsuitable suitor Bearjest a comic fop, and Shukla was memorable as Gayman's old crone of a landlady. The dancing that punctuated the action was a clever conceit for a witty comedy.