Hugh Are You? A Review of No One Like Hugh

Friar Hubert and Hugh. No One LIkes Hugh. Photo Stephanie Weiner. Friar Hubert and Hugh. No One LIkes Hugh. Photo Stephanie Weiner.

The Who would have had a field day re-writing their anthem, Who Are You? for this story. Playwright Hero’s No One Like Hugh indelicately but skillfully employs ages old comedic devices and iambic pentameter in this comedy of mistaken identities. No One Like Hugh can be found at the unlikely intersection of The Princess Bride, Kevin Smith, and Shakespeare. A love story, puns (so many puns!), over the top innuendo, flowery language, sword fights and magic round out this lighthearted look at questions of gender and identity. Sure, Freud would have a field day with, well, everything but methinks Shakespeare would applaud the wit in equal measure.

Written by Jimmy Karamanis (Director), Travis Martin, and Alex Smith, the story is set in the medieval Greek English court of King Archontakis. Unbeknownst to this kind and drowsy monarch, an evil plot is unfolding to take his throne. Princess Lavender is set to marry the ‘good’ Hugh, when his evil identical twin, also named Hugh, schemes to take his place. The poor exasperated Fool is the only one in the story who can seem to tell the difference between the Hughs. Separated at birth, the they were not only raised differently, they are in fact of different hues and are stricken with vastly different speech issues. The court raised Hugh (Jonah Carson) speaks with a very high freudian slip per minute rate (fspm), while the wicked Hugh (Justin Johnson) both stutters and has a Tourette’s like issue.

Hugh and Hugo. No One Likes Hugh. Photo Stephanie Weiner.

No One Like Hugh. Photo courtesy of Playwright Hero Productions

Amidst this madness, a confused ladies maid, Lactacia Steelonbottom, disguises herself as the noble knight Clyde in an attempt to win the Princess’ affection. She succeeds instead in catching the eye of the closeted Friar Hubert, who also cross dresses in order to woo him, er, her. These two, portrayed by Stephanie Costa and Alex Lepanto, respectively, were fun to watch.

A scene that sticks out for me was the battle of epic silliness that was the sword fight between the Hughs. They managed to appear like serious clowns battling underwater with pool noodles, and it was hilarious.

Both the story and some of the acting was over the top, but it was meant to be. I don’t think this kind of show is for everyone, if you’re offended by too much low brow sexual innuendo, stay away. However, a cross section of (teenaged and up) Farrelly brothers and Shakespeare fans will find themselves very entertained.

You can continue to support the efforts of Montreal’s Playwright Hero on Patreon and see their next production in January, details here.

also of interest