The Talisman Ring, Lifeline Theatre. Georgette Heyer has been called the "20th-century Jane Austen," her intelligent humor and unsentimentality distinguishing her popular novels from those of the many copycat authors of Regency romances. Adapting The Talisman Ring's intricate plot, larger-than-life characters, and lofty language would be a daunting task even without hordes of Heyer devotees prepared to pounce on the slightest page-to-stage distortion. But Christina Calvit pulls it off, making Heyer's frivolous tale of two ladies bent on adventure, no matter how many innocent bystanders must be enlisted, an effervescent romp from beginning to end.
The cast--led by Elizabeth Laidlaw and Krista Lally as the resourceful heroines, Peter Greenberg and Ned Mochel as their reluctant swains, and Ric Kraus as the sinister (and atrociously attired) villain--leap from poker-faced formality to madcap impetuosity, while immersing themselves so completely in the play's period that a pair of lovers sharing an innocent kiss seems downright shocking. --Mary Shen Barnidge