The grave Mrs. Graves (centre, played by Lesley McVey) cracks an unlikely smile as Antony Wilding (played by Jonathon Hamilton) delivers her a bag of walnuts, her favourite, as Lotty Wilton wearing flowers and a swim suit (played by Heather Tillmar) looks on, and Lady Caroline Bramble (played by Adrienne Yee) pouts, during the ECHO Players dress rehearsal for Enchanted April on Tuesday, Oct. 9. — Adam Kveton Photo

From close and cold to bright and bold in Qualicum Beach rendition of ‘Enchanted April’

REVIEW: Performance brings drama, laughs, friendship and the determination to be happy

What begins as a tightly coiled spring bursts out into fun, laughter and love in the ECHO Players production of Enchanted April.

Opening tonight (Oct. 11) at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach (110 West 2nd Ave.), Enchanted April tells the story of two British women unhappy in their marriages who become unlikely friends as they drum up the nerve to take a vacation together.

Lotty Wilton and Rose Arnott, played by Heather Tillmar and Bella Meerveld, are joined by Lady Caroline Bramble (Adrienne Yee) and Mrs. Graves (Lesley McVey) so that they can afford to rent what they are told is a beautiful Italian castle covered in wisteria, escaping the dreary wet of England for a sunny April.

Tillmar and Meerveld play well off each other, with Tillmar’s twinkling smile working well for her character, who’s determined to be happy, and sees just how to make it so. Meerveld does well as a proper, God-fearing Brit who declares she’s “most happy” with great severity.

We see into the marriage of these two women, with Scott Murray doing a delightful job of playing Mallesh Wilton, the sort of man of the house who’s both childlike (needing his wife to tie his tie, pick up his paper and cook for him) and yet must be in charge of everything.

Caz Matute plays Frederirck Arnott, who’s money-making activities are far too scandalous for the highly religious Rose, but their rift goes deeper than that as we see later in the play.

About half the play is taken up in Lotty and Rose securing their fellow travellers (McVey does a magnificently demanding and set-in-her-ways widow, while Yee looks and sounds the part of a jazz-loving, gin-drinking “modern”), and the audience is quite ready to leave England for Italia. The long start, however, is effective in making the audience as excited for the castle as the characters are, and being to doubt its much-discussed beauty just as they do.

The second half of the play sees great additions in Italian maid Costanza (played to hilarious effect, and all in Italian, by Linda Bezooyen) and the dapper owner of the castle, Antony Wilding (played to charming effect by Jonathon Hamilton).

While the castle itself is no doubt a character in this play, it’s perhaps Lotty’s infectious determination to be happy that has the greatest effect on the characters. Enchanted April succeeds in bursting from its shell with laughter, joy and love.

The play runs until Oct. 28. For info on tickets, go to www.echoplayers.ca/tickets.php.

Just Posted

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

History: The architectural legacy of Sam Little

Designs leave legacy in Qualicum Beach, other Island locales

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

Finalists announced for annual Business Achievement Awards

Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce honours individuals, businesses

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read