Constellation’s ‘Desperate Measures’ a Rip-Roaring Delight

Rebecca Ballinger, Tyler Dobies, Hunter Ringsmith, Audrey Baker, Greg Watkins,
Bobby Libby. Image credit: DJ Corey Photography

Constellation Theatre‘s latest rowdy comedy, Desperate Measures, is a rip-roaring delight and a must-experience night of theatrics.

From a gun-toting nun (perfectly performed by Julia Link at the media performance) to a Nietzsche-loving eccentric clergyman (Joshua Simon) to a vain politician, this Wild West setup shakes up Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, on which it is inspired, and adds in plenty of the bawdy bits and riotous hijinks that Constellation’s audiences love to laugh over.

Greg Watkins and Julia Link. Image credit: DJ Corey Photography

While trying to protect the lady he loves, Johnny Blood (Hunter Ringsmith) kills a man in a bar brawl and is sentenced to death by an authoritarian governor who desires law and order above all else… until he doesn’t. Johnny’s fate falls into the hands — and wild plottings — of a sheltered nun, a shrewd sheriff, a saucy saloon dancer, and a sotted priest.

Hunter Ringsmith, Julia Link, and Tyler Dobies. Image credit: DJ Corey Photography

This play, with book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg and music by David Friedman, has all of the ingredients to attract and keep a modern audience’s attention: movement, timing, and wit. (Having a glorious villain to root against is a boon as well.) While the songs, switch-ups and shenanigans are spectacular, Desperate Measures has remarkable substance as well.

In short, it’s about impossible choices. But your choice is much easier… You just have to decide which night to attend.

Desperate Measures plays at Source Theatre (1835 14th Street NW) through March 17, 2024.