The Executioner’s Wife – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

“The Executioner’s Wife” doesn’t sound like a play for adults and teens or a musical but it is delightfully both. Have no fear, no animals are harmed, no blood is shed and no heads are separated from bodies. Rather it is a tale set in the Middle Ages, with a mild mannered King (Jimmy Johansmeyer), a mean spirited Queen (Susan Kulp), a reluctant newly appointed executioner (Justin Rugg) and his status seeking wife (Mary Mannix).

Credit for this wildly imaginative story and lyrics goes to director Bert Bernardi for intensely serious and silly shenanigans, rousing music by Justin Rugg, and elaborate costuming by Jimmy Johansmeyer. Until Mother’s Day, May 12, Pantochino Productions will be doing everything in their power to not behead anyone, guilty or innocent, in “The Executioner’s Wife” at the Milford Arts Council, The Mac. Bring the family, as well as chips and dips, carrots and cookies, to your cabaret table to munch during the show. Be forewarned the language, at times, can be a little spicy.

Come make the acquaintance of Susan Kulp’s regally domineering Queen, who insists that the Magistrate, an accommodating Killian Meehan, find a new executioner now that the current one has permanently retired, through death. With the good counsel of the Queen’s Lady in Waiting (Maria Berte), who is constantly being disrespected by her superior, she tries to support the Queen as she deals with the Queen’s unfaithful servants Minerva (Katie Durham) and her chef Cassoulet (George Spelvin).

Unfortunately since the Queen no longer likes or trusts Minerva or Cassoulet, she requires the executioner to dispense with them forever. The Magistrate determines the peasant Drogo, an unsuspecting Justin Rugg, will be the perfect choice, a decision Drogo strongly objects to accepting due to his basic cowardice. Meanwhile the King has his own agenda, with a bevy of friends at his side. For Drogo’s wife Amelia, she is relying on her own wits and the help of her companions Hildegund (Shelley Marsh Poggio) and her husband Arvin (Josiah Rowe) to aid her out of Drogo’s predicament.

Will the Queen control her mad cap desires and sexual urges? Can Amelia pull off a super tricky plan and save Drogo from beheading anyone? Will Minerva and Cassoulet survive their trauma? Will the King and Queen’s secrets be shared with all the residents of the village of Dungwich? Let the talented troupe of Pantochino Productions reveal the musical answers like “The Magistrate’s Patter,” “My Lust,” ”Run, Drogo, Run,” “Heads Will Roll” and “Long Live Life.”

For tickets ($30), go online to Pantchino Productions at Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Donations will be welcomed to the Great Give on May 1 and 2.

Heads may or may not roll. Come with the teens to follow the fun and bring goodies and drinks to share at your cabaret table.