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REVIEW: Brilliantly believable performances highlight ‘How It Works’ from ECHO Players

Production runs April 21 to May 8 at Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach
Peggy Pearce as Donna, Rowan O’Callaghan as Brooke, Sherri Wade as Christine and John Felice as Al in ‘How It Works’, an ECHO Players production opening April 21 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach. (Ben Rosnau photo)

By Lorraine Browne

The inner workings of a family in crisis take centre stage in ECHO Players’ new production How It Works, opening Thursday, April 21 at Village Theatre. The sometimes sad, sometimes humourous family drama by award-winning Nova Scotia playwright Danial MacIvor profiles a family in crisis, from the depths of despair to the highs of hope and joys of triumph.

Directed with sensitivity and compassion, it’s a labour of love lifted from the bucket list of director Karen Golden.

It’s “a play I have long wanted to do for the positive message it conveys,” said Golden.

It is that experience of telling our own stories in an environment that feels safe, and in telling, finding our way out of our hurt or confusion that is explored in this play.

Peggy Pearce plays Donna, the concerned mother while John Felice plays Al the devoted dad in a family struggling with the fallout from divorce, drugs and a daughter out of control who brings the family to the brink and back again.

Rowan O’Callaghan is brilliantly believable as Brooke, the troubled teen who lies and steals to support her addiction. Shouting one moment, pleading another draped over the living room furniture next, her powerful performance is convincing, energetic and transfixing.

Al’s new love interest Christine, expertly played by Sherri Wade, alters the dynamic with the perspective of an outsider. whose sensible tactics help to calm the chaos and bring some eventual resolution.

READ MORE: REVIEW: ‘Sylvia’ from ECHO Players delivers comical and endearing performances

The Girl, played by Emma Murphy surfaces periodically to make an underlying point.

How It Works sends a positive message of hope along with witty optimism and resilience. In the end, it is one of uplifting positivity and triumph.

At the conclusion of every performance at Village Theatre, you will always see the cast lift their hands in acknowledgement to those essential people who help make the magic of theatre possible.

We acknowledge the tireless efforts of the producers, stage managers, set designers and creators, lighting, sound and video operators along with props, costumes, makeup and supporting co-ordinators. These volunteers are the backbone of community theatre.

How It Works opens Thursday, April 21 and runs until Monday, May 8.

Tickets are available online at and at the box office, open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by phone at 250-752-3522.

For your safety, masks are mandated for all performances.

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