Press

“Part history lesson. Part time warp. All ass-kicking. The folks at En Garde Entertainment show us stage combat as art… what is so striking about the piece directors Alexandra and David Dean Hastings have cooked up is how it treats the art of combat. Each (wordless) fight has interludes and story lines, which provide context and a sense of history. We see, if only briefly, what these battles meant to people: matters of life and death, honor and patriotism. The most moving moment occurs in the finale, where the cast assembles to mark out the path of history leading from Og with his rocks and bones, to a simple man in a simple suit who simply presses a button. There is darkness; there is light; there are swords and guns and axes and cold, hard fists. It is, quite simply, everything you never knew you wanted to know about fighting.”

-- Time Out NY

“When you watch a “violence ballet” consisting of 11 fight scenes, 68 weapons, 23 fighters and 90 percent badass, you’re bound to see something that’s going to put a bit of hair on your chest… Highly comical, tightly choreographed and clean cut, Evolution is a short and sweet production that quickly sweeps you through the “badassery” and weaponry throughout history, and punches you right in the gut… Both David and Alexandra Hastings avoid the common problem of fight scenes — a mumble jumble of tangled limbs and sweaty grunts that can be hard to decipher and follow — by making excellent use of slow motion and choreography. This is especially apparent in Evolution’s segment on fencing, the American Revolution and the Old West, where our fine actors display incredible skill and muscle control.”

-- Show Business Weekly

“…in an hour and a half, the 23 actors in the play Evolution took us along the progression of fighting, and they did it well. We quickly moved through ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, witnessing a sexy skin-to-skin fight between the Pharaoh’s concubines and continuing on to the brute thundering of gladiators. The samurai fight in Feudal Japan flowed with elegance and grace and, like many of the acts, ended in death. The fights, directed by David Dean Hastings, showed obsessive coordination, especially the sword scenes. This smooth choreography gave Evolution an overall feeling of watching a dance…”

-- NY Press

“This year's Fight Fest includes the inaugural production of En Garde Entertainment, an offshoot of the stage combat academy on East Fourth Street. Their "violence ballet," Evolution, is an enjoyable master class in all the ways humans have learned to throw down the last few millennia. Directed by Alexandra Hastings and fight directed by David Dean Hastings, Evolution crams two thousand years of ass-kicking—and 23 loose-jointed combatants—into the tiny Brick space on Metropolitan Avenue. Bones, fists, swords, samurais, guns, gladiators—something for everyone this holiday season! …And Evolution is happily equal-opportunity—women jump right in and give as good as they get; historical accuracy be damned… it's clear that Hastings, Hastings, and Friends are moving towards something else—a preliminary exploration of fight technique integrated to highly theatricalized storytelling…some sections—using John Woo-style slow-mo, music, and choreography—move from nuts and bolts technique into something "dancer-ly," and emotionally resonant, theater rooted in physicality rather than language.”

-- NY Theater