Is she a heartbreaker or homewrecker? Not intentionally. Sylvia is just one adorable, loveable, precocious pooch who adores her newfound master and desperately wants to win the affections of his wife.
Sylvia, a charming comedy written by A.R. Gurney is brought to life with light-hearted hilarity by ECHO Players, under the creative direction of Don Harper.
Greg is the husband, so convincingly played by seasoned actor Chris Peake, who finds a stray dog in New York Central Park, is instantly enamoured and brings her home to his Park Avenue apartment. It’s a complete surprise for Kate, his resistant wife, so convincingly played by newcomer Colleen Janssen-Hood.
Sylvia is a wiggling, wagging, bouncing bundle of bubbling energy with endearing qualities, but also some very unappealing mutt mannerisms, like sniffing, scratching, jumping all over the furniture and leaving unexpected surprises on the floor. It’s a hard sell for Greg who is obsessed with his new companion.
Lavishing her new master with adoring affection, Sylvia is filling the gap in a mid-life crisis Greg is experiencing in his career and marriage. Kate sees only obstacles to her plan of redefining their life and love as empty-nesters. She likes dogs “when they belong to other people”.
But Sylvia, played by the buoyantly enthusiastic Francesca Raeside is convincing, determined, endearing and hard to resist. She and Greg share long and meaningful conversations, the kind that everyone who has ever talked to their own dog fully understands go well beyond sit, stay and speak. Jealousy rears its ugly head and Kate is determined to see the end of Sylvia after she chews her best shoes and runs off with a copy of her favourite book. That does it! Kate begins plotting a move abroad.
What happens next? Will Greg be forced to give up Sylvia?
The supporting cast of animal lovers includes Brian Nikula in the dual role as Tom and Leslie and Phyllis, played by Liz Lewington.
Sylvia delivers some comical and endearing performances. Better bring your handkerchief and get ready for some tearful times, too. You may even leave with a lump in your throat.
ECHO Players’ Sylvia opened Feb. 17 and plays until Sunday, March 6 on stage at Village Theatre. Tickets are going fast. Order yours now at www.echoplayers.ca or by calling the box office at 250-752-3522.
As of midnight, Feb. 16, all capacity restrictions are lifted so ECHO is now selling tickets to a full house. Masks and proof of vaccination are still required.
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