Backstage Review: ‘Hearts Like Fists’ at the Restless Artists Theater

~”Hearts Like Fists” Written by Adam Szymkowicz~

~Review by Norm Robins~

~Photos by Zen Media~

Doctor X is a certifiable, industrial-strength nogoodnik making Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi look like Mary Poppins. She sees her face like a squirming bowl of worms. I have no idea what that means. Okay, let’s take it to mean that she does not see herself as a good looking gal. The love of her life (the nurse) has a face like a china plate. Maybe that means she has a face like a beautiful piece of Wedgewood china, like a creamy white cameo against a field of pale, delicate blue. Okay, that makes sense. Let’s go with that one, too.

But the nurse with a face like a plate has rejected her. They made love and then parted. To the exclusion of everything else the nurse is all Doctor X can remember. And if Doctor X can’t have love no one can. She will make sure of that. Doctor X prowls the city finding sleeping lovers and injects them with a fatal poison. Thinking that she is Plato’s benevolent despot. Doctor X believes that she is doing the lovers a favor by killing them while love is still beautiful, much like killing the wine while it is still wine before it turns to vinegar.

What to do? The Crime Fighters to the rescue, four women in masks who are great fighters who fight evil everywhere. BAM!! SMASH!! KAPOW!!! (Mostly kapow). Take that, evil Dr. X. This is a comic book brought to life.

Actually, the play is indeed in the form of a comic book performed on stage. But it’s not a comic book for children. It is beyond the ken of children. It’s a comic book for thinking adults, and a good one at that. It’s campy. It’s farcical. It’s fun. Its coin of the realm is love, love given and love returned, unrequited love, practical love and impractical love, secret love and love worn on the sleeve, and love turned bitter and vengeful. So many people get their hearts broken that Doctor Peter has manufactured an artificial heart that he plans to make in the millions for the millions of people with broken hearts. Adults who have been in love one way or the other will get the play. But it is a comic book nonetheless, and that is what makes this play so much fun.

And it is lots of fun. You will leave the theater with a smile on your face. This is director Libby Schipper’s second directorial opus. Her debut was The Tangled Skirt performed in March 2018 at the Restless Artists Theater. She is very good at what she does. The cast is comprised of 8 actors in what is an almost ensemble piece with solid performances by everybody. Rosemary Maciel is especially good as the evil, ruthless, conniving Doctor X. Brrrrr, she sends a shiver down your spine.

How do you heal a broken heart?
It would certainly be easier if you could just have a new heart replacing the old.
“Hearts like Fists” is a funny, comic book inspired look at the broken heart and the search for love. Just remember that the love you seek may be right in front of you.

Dana Nöllsch


Lisa…………………Kristina Charpentier

Peter……………….Tanner Sebastian

Doctor X……………Rosemary Maciel

Nina………………..Juli Fair

Sally………………..Terri Gray

Jazmin……………..Rachel Douglass

Nurse………………Hanna Mills

Stagehand……..….Hunter Dunn

Hearts Like Fists plays at the Restless Artists Theater, 295 20th St. in Sparks, December 6th through December 21. For more information and tickets please go to or call (775) 525-3074.


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