If Sherlock Holmes Were Mary Poppins, She Might be Just like SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE

KTC_Susan Swayne promo

Lisa DeRoberts as Susan Swayne. Image by Dan. R. Winters

If Sherlock Holmes were Mary Poppins, she might be just like
By Reina Hardy

November 24 – December 16

Corsets and swordplay and murder – oh, my!

Susan Swayne loves few things more than good manners, a sharp blade, and the challenge of bringing criminals to justice in the streets of Victorian London. But when a rival threatens her position in the Society of Lady Detectives, she begins to unravel a sordid little mystery that puts both her deductive reasoning and her decorum to the test!

With razor-sharp wit and even sharper blades, SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE by Reina Hardy is the next swashbuckling adventure to take over the Know MainStage.

Directed by Know Associate Artistic Director Tamara Winters, this unconventional take on the classic Victorian whodunit is part action-adventure, part queer sex farce, and part contemporary spin on the comedic chaos of Gilbert & Sullivan. Add in a vicious little murder mystery and comically compromising circumstances, and you have just the tonic for what ails you this holiday season.

In a time when murder and mayhem lurk amongst London’s ubiquitous fog, Susan Swayne patrols the night, ready to deliver nefarious ne’er-do-wells both swift justice and a stern talking-to. After some vigorous fisticuffs thanks to a mistaken identity, Swayne makes the acquaintance of Isabelle Fontaine-Kite, a young bride desperately searching for her missing husband Eric.

Swayne invites Isabelle into the inner sanctum of the Society of Lady Detectives, and that’s when the trouble really begins…

Director Tamara Winters is thrilled to get back into the director’s chair for her first show since her maternity leave last spring – and she could not be more excited that this is the script she’s diving back into:

“SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE is the kind of show we relish here at the Know – it’s a rollicking good time that skewers our sexual hangups and our assumptions about identity on the pointed tip of a rapier blade.

With wit, irreverence, a giddy sense of chaos, gender-bending, and a killer cast of some of Cincinnati’s most fabulous ladies, it’s a patriarchy-smashing, iconoclastic adventure that also happens to be bitingly funny.

And couldn’t we all use a few laughs and some hearty swashbuckling at the hands of some fantastic females right now?”

Speaking of her killer cast – SUSAN SWAYNE AND THE BEWILDERED BRIDE brings some of Know’s favorite femmes fatale back to the MainStage.

Starring as Susan Swayne herself is Lisa DeRoberts, previously seen in 2015’s Hearts Like Fists and 2016’s Darkest Night at the Gnarly Stump (and recently seen on-screen in Robert Redford’s The Old Man and the Gun!). Joining her as Swayne’s secretive rival Katherine Denn is Jordan Trovillion, who slayed both hearts and minds as Hunter in 2017’s Neverwhere.

Ernaisja Curry joins the fun as Isabelle Fontaine-Kite, after stealing scenes in 2016’s Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood and her unforgettable turn as Door in 2017’s Neverwhere.

The luminous Regina Pugh returns to the Know as the elder stateswoman of the Society of Lady Detectives, Lady Bomberry – after a memorable appearance as Williamina Fleming in 2016’s Silent Sky.

Playing the young apprentices to the Society are current Northern Kentucky University senior Kearston Hawkins-Johnson and NKU alum Alexx Rouse. Kearston first appeared at the Know in 2017’s Dragon Play, while Alexx is making her MainStage debut after putting several years of SecondStage and Fringe hits under her belt as both a writer and performer.

And rounding out the world of Susan Swayne are our two gentlemen: perennial favorite (and Cincinnati Fringe Festival Producer) Chris Wesselman and OTRimprov’s own Nathan Tubbs – who most recently hit the Know stage as Icarus in 2017’s Heavier Than…

But what Victorian murder mystery would be complete without a little swordplay, especially in a show first developed by Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre? That’s where the one and only Jonn Baca comes in, as Fight Director. Working alongside director Tamara Winters, Baca will stage the inventive and ingenious altercations that drive this comic caper.

Corsets, crossdressing, swords, wit, and wickedness – what more could you want from a holiday frolic? Running November 24 – December 16 at Your Theatrical Playground.

Cast in Alphabetical Order

  • Ernaisja Curry – Isabelle Fontaine-Kite
  • Lisa DeRoberts – Susan Swayne
  • Kearston Hawkins-Johnson – Adelaide
  • Regina Pugh* – Lady Alice Bomberry
  • Alexx Rouse – Madeline
  • Jordan Trovillion – Katherine Denn
  • Nathan Tubbs – Man #2
  • Chris Wesselman – Man #1

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.

Production Team

  • Director – Tamara Winters
  • Scenic & Lighting Designer – Andrew J. Hungerford
  • Prop Designer – Rebecca Armstrong
  • Costume Designer – Noelle Johnston
  • Sound Designer – Douglas Borntrager
  • Vocal Coach – Chaslee Schweitzer
  • Fight Director – Jonn Baca

Calendar Listing


8pm – November 24, 28, 29, 30; December 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15
3pm – November 25; December 2*, 9, 16.

*A pre-show brunch is available on this date with purchase of $35 “Brunch + Show” tickets in advance. Deadline for brunch reservation is November 19. Brunch provided by Water Tower Fine Wines.

Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. In historic Over-the-Rhine.


  • $25 regular price tickets
  • $35 “Living Wage” tickets, supporting working artists in Cincinnati
  • $15 Rush tickets at the door 10 minutes prior to curtain (when available)
  • FREE walk-up tickets are available on Wednesdays, as part of Know’s Welcome Experiment. Advance reservations to Welcome Experiment performances are $5.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting knowtheatre.com or calling 513.300.5669 (KNOW).

The Welcome Experiment performances for Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride made possible by Judge (Ret) Mark Painter

Season Design sponsorship provided by Travis McElroy.

Additional MainStage support provided by
The Louise Taft Semple Foundation
The John A Schroth Charitable Trust, PNC Bank Charitable Trust Committee

Know Theatre is Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible.

Know Theatre’s work is made possible, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign.  

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Know Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Know Theatre is also supported by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, helping to change our communities for the better through collaboration and innovation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provides a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving.

Know Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group and an Associate Member of the National New Play Network.

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