Review: Lickspittles, Buttonholers and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens at Resurrection Theatre

Showtimes: Friday 8pm, Saturday 8pm, Sunday 2pm; Through 5/12; $18-$20; Resurrection Theatre, 1723 25th Street; (916) 491-0940;
Rated 2.0

The plot of Lickspittles, Buttonholers and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens is as unusual as its title.

In this rhyming, Alexandrine verse play, Resurrection Theatre attempts to entertain audiences with comedy, tragedy, drama and melodrama all wrapped into one. The storyline follows three Danish fellows with skills in flattery, oratory and persuasion, who seek to regain their places in the royal court by scheming against their French equals. The minor roles of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington and Prince Frederick are charming inclusions.

A cast of 14 fills the intimate California Stage. Several actors take on multiple roles, each with their own tongue-twisting, poetic lines in Shakespearean iambic pentameter. While most of the actors’ French accents were convincing, the Danish accents were inconsistent and at times inarticulate. The highlight of the entire performance was the stage combat; the sword fighting scenes are exciting and spellbinding.

Unfortunately, the lack of period-appropriate costumes was too distracting not to mention. Taking into account the minimal budget of all community theater companies—as explicitly observed by the narrators—it takes more than an appropriate suspension of disbelief to accept jeans, Crocs and fanny packs in 1807.

Overall, Lickspittles was bewildering, but fun. Despite a cast of talented actors and modern direction, the play, with its unduly complex plot and lengthy script, may have fallen shorter than Napoleon’s sword.