Anthropologist Phyllida Spotte-Hume is brilliant, but that won't win her membership to London's Explorers Club.

She has to prove she's discovered a lost city in a forgotten part of the world.

"So, she brings back a NaKong tribesman named Luigi, who lives in that part of the world," said Blanche Bienvenu, who plays Phyllida in Theatre Baton Rouge's production of "The Explorers Club."

Luckily, it's 1879 London and not 2019, when such bias would be called out as sexist.

"The Explorers Club" opens April 26, and though it sounds serious, it's filled with wit and physical comedy.

The play by Nell Benjamin opens with Phyllida's introduction to the Explorers Club, whose membership is made up of scientists, each with his own eccentricities.

Now the club is facing, horrors, a woman who wants to join, and, gasp, it's bartender is bad.

"… the decision to let in a woman could shake the very foundation of the British Empire," teases TBR's website, "and how do you make such a decision without a decent drink?"

Among the members is the rich Harry Percy, played by Phil Blanchard, a directionless "adventurer" who has just returned from the East Pole.

"It does exist," he tells his fellow members.

"When I think of Harry, I think of what a spoiled rotten brat he is," Blanchard said. "He is absolutely ridiculous. It's as if he wanted to be in an adventure club, and his mother set it up for him."

Club president and botanist Lucius Fretway, played by Jason Breaux, endorses Phyllida's membership, but that doesn't sit well with Harry.

He's torn. He doesn't like the idea of a woman in the club, but he'd really like to attract Phyllida's attention. Unfortunately, Lucius also is in love with Phyllida.

And then there's tribesman Luigi, played by Andrew Vessel, who has an unusual way of greeting people. Yes, it's going to cause problems.

But, then, what would a farce be without them?


'The Explorers Club'

A Theatre Baton Rouge production

WHEN: April 26, April 28, May 2-5 and May 9-12. Performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Also a matinee on May 4.

WHERE: Theatre Baton Rouge, 7155 Florida Blvd.

TICKETS/INFO: $25; $19, students. (225) 924-6496 or theatrebr.org


Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.