The mythology of ancient Egypt and a police procedural might make strange bedfellows but the fine folks at Guillotine Theatre make the combination work in a delightful way with Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr. Freud. The mighty Isis herself joins forces with a convicted felon, now consulting for the NYPD, to solve crimes. The show is Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr. Freud and the results are fine indeed.
Wait – how did the revered goddess of old Egypt get on the elite law enforcement agency? Very easily, according to the savvy script by Monique LaForce. Filled with references to the myths and traditions from the time of the pharaohs, LaForce gives her actors juicy verse to chew on as they bridge the gap from the classical times to modern day cop dramas. There is plenty of “Law and Order” and some good doses of “Moonlighting” and “Remington Steele” (Some of us remember those shows, I hope.) Those star-crossed pairings come in handy as the central relationship here brings together a go-getter female cop and a charming ne’er-do-well who has the hots for his partner.
Director Carl Brandt Long picked two winners as his title twosome. Cate Brewer, as Isis, effortlessly shifts from ceremonial verse with regal bearing to hard-boiled yet sexy cop. She can also rock a pair of diaphanous goddess wings. As her foil, partner, and wannabe love interest, Sun King Davis could charm the sphinx into giving up secrets. He is smooth and cool as Vesco, guilty of some felonious securities trading and now assigned to Isis as a consultant. A bit far-fetched perhaps, but the idea works. The dialogue between Brewer and Davis crackles with sexual tension, a credit to their performances and to LaForce’s script.
Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr. Freud
by Monique LaForce
at Redrum – Fort Fringe
610 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
As the good doctor (and in a memorable dual turn as rival Dr. Jung), Terence Aselford is a scene stealer. As he questions Osiris, Aselford and Santayana give a master class in timing and reaction, two keys to playing comedy brilliantly. Special mention must be made for the masterpiece of a costume Miranda Creason designed for Osiris, complete with royal crook and flail and that unique headdress we’ve all seen in Egyptian art and statuary. The flail, by the way, becomes a clue in the investigation. To say more would ruin some clever twists and turns.
Suffice it to say, Isis and Vesco works on several levels, as both a spoof and as a well-written and executed mystery play.
The cast is rounded out by Catharine Aselford as the de rigeur medical examiner (who has a secret!) and Katie Jeffries in three roles that showcase a delightfully zany range – a Noo Yawky receptionist, a fallen Southern belle hooker and a neutral bartender.
Long also deserves a shout out for a sound design that is jam-packed with music perfectly suited to set the scene, comment on the action and provide proper atmosphere in the run-down Redrum venue.
Hopefully, LaForce and Guillotine Theatre will consider bringing this show back for an extended run. It deserves full houses and not just at Capital Fringe.