Review: Enchanted AprilBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 14th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Vienna Community Theatre’s production of Enchanted April [MP3 7.52MB 7:52].
Mike: Enchanted April is a wonderful little play that takes place in 1922. It starts out in London, England just after World War I, The Great War. You are introduced to a couple different characters. The main characters are Lotty and Rose. Two women who have lost their way in life it seems as many of the peoople in London did after the war. So the story takes place in London and a couple months later they’re in Italy at a chateau that they’ve rented for the month. We learn more about them as well as a couple of the friends and aquaintances that they meet and their lives altogether. They learn to talk and trust and love and move into the after of their life. As opposed to the before of their life.
Laura: I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the acting very much. The character I identified with most was Lotty, who was I think, the comic relief of the show. Lorraine Magee was her name. She played Lotty Wilson and she was the one that, like me, tended to talk before she really thought things through. So some of the lines she had I thought were really funny.
Mike: She had some good lines. I liked Rose. Rose was the character who felt constrained in life through what was expected of her. And the idea at the beginning that she would go away without her husband and without his permission and go away for a month, no not going to happen. She just would not hear of it. But she did grow more bold throughout the evening as the play progressed and I just liked watching her transformation. That was really good. In all the show was really good.
Mike: The acting was really good. There were eight characters: five women and three men. They worked together really well. In fact there was a husband and wife couple.
Laura: Yes, that’s true. Rose Arnott and Frederick Arnott were husband and wife and I think that came through in their acting. They were obviously very comfortable with each other.
Mike: In the stage notes it says it was kind of awkward to work in the first act together because they were supposed to be stiff towards each other so that was kind of fun. I bet that kind of had some fun rehearsals.
Laura: Yes, I’m sure going through that stuff was fun to do.
Mike: There was one scene at the first act where Lotty was telling her husband, “Oh, by the way, I’m going to Italy.” and Rose was telling her husband, “I want to go to Italy for a month. ” And they were both on stage on the left and the right. Lotty telling her husband and Rose telling her husband.
Laura: Yes, I thought that was a very difficult scene to do, but they pulled it off really well because they had to have the timing down just so.
Mike: They told the husbands simultaneously. Not with the same exact words, but similar words so it became a ping pong battle from the left to the right. Ånd the husbands reacted the same way,”What, no.” So that was a lot of fun and it made for some comic relief in the middle of the first act.
Laura: Yes, it was very good.
Mike: It was really good. The costumes were really good. The first act took place in London and the costumes and the set designs were really boring. They were browns. It was a very short stage
Laura: Very drab.
Mike: Drab was a good word It was packed full of chairs and tables and coat racks and things like that. It just wasn’t very exciting. It was kind of boring. The characters said it was raining all the time.
Laura: It was a good sound effect because you heard the rain in the background.
Mike: It was always raining in the background.
Laura: For the first act.
Mike: The staging was just kind of depressing so it kind of dragged a little. Then we had intermission and came back and they opened the curtin and we were in Italy.
Laura: It was beautiful.
Mike: It was beautiful. That was a gorgeous staging/set desgn.
Laura: The colors were bright.
Mike: Nice bright colors.
Laura: Lots of flowers.
Mike: The birds were singing. The audience gave the design applause. So that was neat to see. The birds were singing while we were in Italy. They played pretty much the whole time. The lighting was much brighter, reds and blues. The shutters were green contrasting with the adobe or whatever it is. The material of the walls.
Laura: Even the actresses, except for Mrs. Graves who was a widow and always in black. But the other actresses even changed. Their dresses were brighter.
Mike: The dresses were brighter and they changed costumes several times and they were always wonderful. The set and costume designer was Grant Kevin Lane and he did a really good job.
Mike: One comment on the sound. The backgound music at the beinning of the play, in London, was a little loud. You couldn’t really understand the actresses too well. A little too loud, but I think they they settled that down because later it was really good. There weren’t any problems with it. The piano music, birds, things like thst. There was an explosion. That was supposed to be loud so that was fine.
Laura: I liked the evening scene in Italy after dinner one night. They had good lighting on it so it looked like an evening scene.
Mike: It was a full moon lighting effect. It was really good. There were some things they were talking about throughout much of the play, kind of the theme, I guess. At the beginning there was a story told about the before and after. About a man who had a plan. So he went out and chose a place on his estate where he would plant an Acacia tree. So he put his walking stick at that point. So the next Spring he would be able to plant an Acacia tree. When he gets there to do the planting his stick has sprouted and taken root. So then he has to decide does he want to rip out this fragile life from the ground or do I want to leave it and let it be. And he decides to let it be and it turned out his walking stick was an Acacia tree. So he planted it without knowing it. And it made the point, do you want to live in your befores or do you want to live in your afters. And at the end ogf the play Lotty gives a summary of what happens in the future and how the estate in Italy was the beginning of everyones after. And they were all living in their afters now.
Laura: Yes, much discussion possible in the car ride home or coffee somewhere afterwards to talk about your befores and living for your afters.
Mike: There’s enough different people and different characters in the show that you’ll find someone to identify with. Whether it be Costanza the maid or the governess or whatever she was or the landlord or one of the wives or Mrs. Graves who had a lot of loses in her life and the women kind of make fun of her at the beginning. But all in all they did a great job. Enchanted April is a very enjoyable show. There were seats available, it was not sold out, but it was pretty full.
Laura: It was pretty full.
Mike: So if you want to go see this go ahead and call the Vienna Theatre Company and get your name on a ticket list and get tickets.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.