Review: Callaghan! and the Wings of the Butterfly, and SwordPlay: A Play of Swords (Sex T-Rex World Tour II Double Bill)

Image from Sex T-Rex World Tour 2.Sex T-Rex launches their World Tour II, a double bill featuring two comedic plays in Toronto

Comedy troupe Sex T-Rex takes their acclaimed scripted comedies Callaghan! And the Wings of the Butterfly and SwordPlay: A Play of Swords on a “World Tour II” to Eastern Canada this weekend. Based on the preview I saw, I can say without a doubt that comedy lovers in Ottawa, Montreal, and Fredericton are in for a real treat!

Both Callaghan and SwordPlay are packed with pop culture references and take their inspiration from famous Hollywood genre films. Callaghan is a spoof on the Indiana Jones franchise with adventurer/archeologist Jack Callaghan taking on his first adventure since the death of his wife Muriel. Sex T-Rex then switches gears with SwordPlay, a play most aptly described as the video game progeny of The Princess Bride and Game of Thrones.

I have been a fan of Sex T-Rex ever since their Toronto Fringe production of SwordPlay and I’m happy to report that the troupe’s signature charm remains intact. Even in a small black box space without air conditioning, Kaitlin Morrow, Julian Frid, Conor Bradbury, and Seann Murray delivered energetic, pitch-perfect performances. Pagett, who is new to role of Callaghan, seemed a little stiff at first but really came into his own as the night went on.

The other highlight of a Sex T-Rex production is their boundless creativity in the face of an indie theatre budget. They were able to take us around the world and across fantasy lands with just some fabric and pieces of paper. There were also some great fight sequences choreographed by Kevin MacPherson that merged slapstick with pretty impressive swordsmanship.

Callaghan and SwordPlay were created several years apart and the pairing of the two shows is fascinating look into the artistic development of a talented company. While both shows were immensely entertaining, the more recent Swordplay is clearly the stronger with tighter jokes and a more expansive production design.

Since this was a relaxed preview with an audience full of friends and family, a few cues were off and improvised insider jokes were aplenty. The cast also had a lot of fun with a Prince tribute but it unfortunately highlighted the lack of diversity within the ensemble. Nonetheless, both scripted and improvised jokes usually hit their mark and the ensemble’s hilarious improvised banter successfully hid most foibles.

My companion and I had a fantastic time even while sitting in stiffing heat. If Sex T-Rex is coming to your town on their World Tour II, I highly recommend that you get your tickets before they’re all gone!

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Image from Sex T-Rex World Tour II provided by the company.