Bradley (Rob Atkinson)

REVIEW: The Cocktail Hour opens in Qualicum Beach

In the beginning of the play, Pop says to his wife and John: “Of course, nobody goes to the theatre anymore.”

Review by Lauren Collins

There’s nothing more dangerous than an extended cocktail hour, says one of the characters toward the end of the play.

But The Cocktail Hour, which was far from dangerous, was quite enjoyable, at least for the audience members watching the drama unfold onstage.

It’s set in the mid-1970s, and John (played by Mell Frost), an aspiring playwright, comes home to get his family’s blessing on a new play he’s written, The Cocktail Hour. Drama ensues when the family finds out the play is somewhat based on their lives.

The Cocktail Hour is set in upper New York state in the home of Ann and Bradley (played by Aviva Fox and Rob Atkinson respectively) during the cocktail hour before dinner when two of their three grown children Nina (played by Anne Jinks) and John come to visit.

Throughout the play, the family goes back and forth between wanting to know more about John’s play and not wanting to speak of it ever again.

The main conflict throughout The Cocktail Hour is between John and his father Bradley, who is referred to as Pop throughout the play, and their strained relationship over the years. Bradley is upset about the play and what people will think after seeing it.

One of the funnier moments in the play is during the first act when Ann and Bradley reminisce about when they used to go to the theatre, and how it used to be so much better.

Fox and Atkinson’s comedic timing and chemistry in the scene definitely shines through.

Another memorable moment is after Nina reads John’s play, she realizes that she plays a minor role in the play within the play. Her following rant about being a “minor role” definitely garnered laughs from the audience.

Jinks, although she does play a smaller role, has perfect balance of pent up anger and hysterics during her rant and was a highlight of the first act.

The four-person cast, who have all been in ECHO Players productions before, is strong in all of their roles, making their characters and their relationships believable.

In the beginning of the play, Pop says to his wife and John: “Of course, nobody goes to the theatre anymore.”

But I don’t think that’s true for the ECHO Players’ latest production. The Cocktail Hour is a relatable play, and any audience member could probably find similarities between their family and the one on stage.

The Cocktail Hour opens tonight at the Village Theatre (110 W. Second Ave., Qualicum Beach) and will run until

Oct. 30. Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $11 for students.

For more information, call 250-752-3522 or visit www.echoplayers.ca.

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