After an 18-month live theatre hiatus, ECHO Players presents the comedy ‘Yesteryear’, live on stage at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, through Oct. 24. (Don Emerson photo)

After an 18-month live theatre hiatus, ECHO Players presents the comedy ‘Yesteryear’, live on stage at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, through Oct. 24. (Don Emerson photo)

REVIEW: ‘Yesteryear’ from ECHO Players is hilariously uplifting and uproariously funny

Show runs through Oct. 24 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach

By Lorraine Browne

Hilariously uplifting and uproariously funny, ECHO Players lavishes theatre-goers with lighthearted humour in its first performance of the season.

‘Yesteryear’ is a lively post-war romantic comedy set in the fictional small town of Raglan, Sask., in 1948.

The curtain opens on the back room of Howard’s Hardware store where owner David McTavish, skillfully played by Qualicum Beach newcomer John Felice, also happens to live sparsely with an icebox and a hot plate. It’s just another day serving regular customers, but today David is in hot debate with customer Beth McMillan (Bella Meerveld) challenging his quote for painting her living room.

End of day all the local boys start filtering in to sample Howard’s well-stocked bar, where drinks flow as freely as the boozy language, story swapping, scandalous gossip and rude remarks about the bordello down the street they call the “happy house.”

Director Stephen Torrence coaxes convincing performances from a well-chosen cast of newcomers and seasoned actors that will help capture your imagination and bring this romantic comedy to life.

You find yourself wanting better days for David McTavish. Will his lonely heart be lifted by a surprising windfall and pending return of an unrequited love. Will sparks fly? Will love be rekindled?

Life takes a turn for the better with David’s astonishing Irish Sweepstakes win and busybody Emma Day, played by accomplished actor Karen Golden, orchestrates a reunion with the long lost object of his affections, Mildred Douglas (Robyn Thompson).

READ MORE: ‘Yesteryear’ shares the message that love can be lovelier the second time around

Word is out and David is pestered for donations to every seemingly worthy cause. Everyone is after his money, except Mildred who yearns for substance rather than promises of mink coats, sterling silver and trips to Hawaii.

With wartime shortages a not-so-distant memory, dressing of the day is effectively imagined by costumer mistresses Enid Jacques and Pam McCready, with men in classic suits and ladies wearing hats.

All in all, ‘Yesteryear’ is cleverly interpreted by an energetic and creative director and cast who turn the pages of time for an endearing look into human drama, love and the unexpected.

With a huge sigh of relief, The Village Theatre throws open its doors wide to welcome audiences back to live theatre again, all with strict COVID protocols in place.

Yesteryear runs until Oct. 24. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

Tickets for the online version may be purchased until Oct. 17 at www.echoplayers.ca.

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