In Cat McKay’s queer comedy Plaid as Hell, Cass (Reagan James) hopes that a weekend away in the Wisconsin woods will be a fitting opportunity for her best friend Emilie (Cayla Jones) to bond with her new girlfriend Jessica (Ashley Yates)—who Emilie hasn’t been so keen on getting to know, thanks to an unrequited crush on Cass. Their friend Kelly (Alice Wu) is tired of being caught in the middle. If the knotty interpersonal dynamic isn’t enough to jumble the weekend, there’s also a serial killer at large. While the killer’s whereabouts provide massive suspense, the frank humor and raw vulnerability the women display as they come to terms with their ordeal, and their feelings toward each other, are just as powerful.
Plaid as Hell Through 11/19: Wed-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; open captions Sat-Sun 11/12-11/13 and Wed-Thu 11/16-11/17, sensory friendly performance Sun 11/13; livestreaming Wed-Fri 11/16-11/18, Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard, babeswithblades.org, $35 ($28 students/seniors), $30 streaming, recommended 18+
Presented by Babes With Blades Theatre Company, Plaid as Hell exemplifies the company’s mission to “develop and present scripts focused on complex, dynamic (often combative) characters who continue to be underrepresented on theatre stages based on gender.” The four women contain multitudes, and their highly realistic relationships with one another reflect their unique perspectives, shortcomings, and strengths. Under the direction of Christina Casano, each actor finds depth in moments of lightness and of devastation. The intricate stage combat, by BWBTC ensemble member Maureen Yasko,demonstrates the characters’ imminent danger without ever being gratuitous.