From left

Farce-style comedy fills stage with energy

ECHO Players production The Full Treatment onstage at Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach April 9-26

There is a lot of energy onstage at the Village Theatre this month with ECHO Players’ latest production, The Full Treatment.

The whirlwind play tells of the plot to regenerate a failing English country newspaper. The editor (Paul Churchill) decides to invite a centenarian couple (Janet Dol and Gerry Fraser) to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary at a fancy London hotel. The paper plans to treat them to a wonderful experience while the staff write up glowing reports accompanied by endearing photos of this event.

Of course, things start to go wrong. The editor usurps the honeymoon plans of his chosen reporter (Scott Murray), demanding he and his new bride (Alycia Matthews) share the same large penthouse suite as the old folks. Not only is the bride unhappy, but it turns out the far-from-placid elderly couple haven’t spoken to each other in six months and there are a few unspoken secrets about their long lives. A fiasco seems to be inevitable, and there to witness the tailspin is the paper’s photographer (Maureen O’Hearn) and secretary (Michelle Hesketh), a BBC reporter and a greasy public relations officer (both played by James Matthews) and the hotel maid and a hired nurse (both by Kim Bellwood).

There are a lot of characters in The Full Treatment and they are often onstage at the same time. Even with this mass amount of activity, however, it is easy to follow who is who —even the actors who play two roles — thanks to the fantastic costuming and the distinct characterizations created by the actors.

The fact that the characters are so developed deserves commending. The Full Treatment has gone through four cast changes, the last being around a week and a half ago, said director Gerri Hemphill.

That being said, The Full Treatment is more a farcical-style comedy that relies on situations more than characters for its laughs. There are times when the plot’s events can feel over the top, but playwright Michael Brett counters this with a few quieter moments that give the characters a chance to speak and the audience to process.

The show runs at the Village Theatre April 9-26, with evening shows Wed.-Sat. at

7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and over, $10 for students and $5 for children aged 12 and under. All tickets are available at the Village Theatre Box Office (110, West 2nd Ave., Qualicum Beach, 250-752-3522) Tues. through Sat. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. ECHO Players is also holding a contest for free tickets to the show. If you have a wedding anniversary in April, simply bring your marriage certificate to the Village Theatre box office. If you are one of the first 10 couples to do so, you will receive two free tickets for the date of your choice to The Full Treatment.

 

 

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