und myself laughing nostalgically at the opening night performance of Over The River And Through The Woods.
The Echo Players production now running until June 12 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach pokes fun at family relationships but also delves into the frustration and emotional toll it takes on those trying to keep a family unit together.
What makes the show is the comedy which comes naturally through conversations generated around an Italian-American family’s Sunday dinner rituals.
The play focuses on Nick Cristano, a 25 year old Italian Catholic who lives in New York City and dutifully goes to his grandparents for Sunday dinner every week where the family gathers to eat and bicker.
Nick’s visits to the New Jersey home of his mother’s parent’s Frank and Aida Gianelli are cherished by the elderly couple. Nick’s father’s parents — Nunzio and Emma Cristano who live nearby also partake in the weekly gathering.
Jesse Cooper’s portrayal of Nick is convincing, particularly when he has to muster up the patience of a saint to get through a game of Trivial Pursuit.
The acting of Paul Churchill who plays Frank is solid. He gets some of the best lines.
The character of Aida played by Joan Bryan wins theatre goer’s hearts and earns their laughter with her constant need to feed everyone real Italian food.
The play is Scarlette Lexington’s first experience with theatre and although not an assured performance her portrayal of Caitlin will likely become more solid once she gets used to the rocky road of live theatre.
The play scores highly on humour in act one but the second half can’t match the hilarity of the first.
— Brenda Gough is a regular News contributor. She lives