‘Enchanted April’ by Matthew Barber, from the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim
March 17 to April 11, 2010
Directed by Travis W. Walter
Enchanted April is a gentle comedy – a romance that charms the audience with witty banter, delightful characters, and the optimistic suggestion that sometimes good does prevail.
The play is based on the Elizabeth von Arnim novel that was made popular by the 1992 film of the same name. It’s set in 1920s England, where the average citizen still struggles to move beyond the dark shadow cast by WWI. In Enchanted April, this gloom becomes palpable in the omnipresent rain – the play’s only real villain, but a villain that threatens to claim our heroines’ very souls.
These heroines, Lottie and Rose, determine to seek out the sunshine missing in their lives by planning a holiday in an Italian villa on the sea. As they defy their husbands and cling to their dream, they are thrown together with two unlikely holiday companions – a stodgy Victorian woman and a young seductress, a flapper seeking respite from London’s scandalous party scene.
At first, the holiday seems doomed by the pettiness of the conflicting personalities. But under the enchantment of sunshine, sea and wisteria, each character in the play finds what he or she is looking for – their better selves. Each is restored – transfigured by the oldest magic the world has known – love.
The Meadow Brook cast, under the deft direction of Interim Artistic Director Travis W. Walter, touches us with a credible and compelling ensemble performance. The mix of MBT veterans and first-timers includes: Robyn Lipnicki (Lotty Wilton), Jean Lyle Lepard (Rose Arnott), Andrew Huff (Mellersh Wilton), Aaron H. Alpern (Frederick Arnott), Leslie Ann Handelman (Caroline Bramble), Ruth Crawford (Mrs. Graves), Mitch Koory (Anthony Wilding), and Jennifer George (Costanza). Lovely sets and fabulous period costumes make this a visual treat as well.
Plan now to see this enchanting play. It’s perfect for old married couples, first dates, and friends on a “girls night out.”
Tickets range from $24 to $39 and are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or online. The schedule includes an American Sign Language-interpreted performance on Wednesday, March 31 at 8:00 p.m.