Another fierce and fascinating show from School of Night, this time reaching into first century Britain and the female warrior who hurt the Roman Empire as few others ever did.
Sometimes I pontificate about how theatre's great strength is in dance and ritual, masks and song, invoking the power of imagination. Battlesong of Boudica does all of that and more. Jen Albert plays the title character, whose degredation at the whim of a Roman official played by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm sparks a mighty bloodbath, starting with a sacrifice to a terrifying Goddess of Battle, then making a pact to give her victory. But one must always be careful of making pacts with the fickle gods...
The show, written and directed by Christopher Johnson, becomes all-engrossing, not least by the terrific stage combat scenes (honestly those make a huge difference) and the integration of music as well as dance into every aspect of the tale. It is at times grisly, with graphic violence enacted and some of it thankfully offstage (including a sickening act of sexual assault). The entire cast brought it all to a vivid, fascinating, horrible life include Payton Cella, Sara Gorsky, Colin A. Borden, Joseph Klink, Christopher Neiman, William Reilly, Tristan Rewald, Lucy Schmidt, Theran J. Sealy, Dan Wingard, and Tony Kim. Also on stage is a drummer, Chloe Madriaga, whose contributions help transport us back almost two millennia to a Britain for all practical purposes before Christ or even King Arthur.
In the end, it proved disorienting to re-enter the modern world, to turn one's cell phone on again, and see these things called cars in the street and light from ball of glass.
Meanwhile, Boudica and her story will haunt me. I know that.
Battlesong of Boudica plays Friday June 24 @ 8:45pm, Saturday June 25 @ 4:45pm and 8:45pm, Sunday June 26 @ 4:15pm 2022 at the Hudson Theatre Guild 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard