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Enchanted April

a Drama
by Matthew Barber

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta on Ponce [WEBSITE]
ID# 4904

SHOWING : June 03, 2016 - June 25, 2016



When two frustrated London housewives decide to take a break from their respective spouses, they rent a beautiful Italian villa. They have recruited two very different women to join them and share the atmosphere. There, among the wisteria blossoms and Mediterranean sunshine, all four bloom again -- rediscovering themselves in ways that they could never have expected.

Friday and Saturday 8pm
Sunday 3pm

Director Jeffery Brown
Scenic painter Katy Clarke
Lighting design Tom Gillespie
Costume design Nancye Hilley
Props design Courtney Loner
Assistant Director Courtney Loner
Sound design Charlie Miller
Scenic design Angie Short
Mellersh Wilton J. Michael Carroll
Lotty Wilton Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Rose Arnott Emma Greene
Mrs. Graves Patty C. Guenthner
Fredrick Arnott Charlie Miller
Caroline Bramble Henley Slepyan
Anthony Wilding Jeffrey Sneed
Costanza Becky Sorrells
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Aprile nel Paradiso
by playgoer
Monday, June 13, 2016
Onstage Atlanta is putting on a lackluster production of "Enchanted April." English accents are not believable; I was more impressed by the imperfect Italian from a couple of actors than by the faux British most actors use. Emotional arcs seem rather to be tiny line segments. Even technical elements seem deficient.

For the first act, Angie Short’s set design consists of a black-curtained space with table/chair settings scattered around the stage. It works for the fluid scene transitions the script requires, with the entire first-act cast remaining onstage throughout. Tom Gillespie’s lighting design nicely highlights these transitions. Director Jeffery Brown has bafflingly omitted a train sequence, though, which minimizes the impact of the reveal of the Italian villa set at the start of the second act.

The second act’s set is backed by Katy Clarke’s beautiful rendition of a stone wall and stage right archway (with a Madonna shrine upstage left). A superfluity of various flowers adorn the wall and arch. A plain black screen is stretched across stage left, which is so obviously stagey that the illusion of a beautiful Italian vista is fatally compromised. A supposed moonlight effect in the final scene is so unevenly lit that it resembles moonlight not in the least.

Nancye Quarles Hilley’s costumes are meant to reflect the time period of the 1920’s, but do so without a great deal of appeal. Most of the cast appear dowdy, and when compliments are given for particular pieces of apparel, the compliments appear undeserved.

The acting is acceptable across the board, but changes in interaction vary little from the start of the play to the end. Mr. Brown does not seem to have helped the cast delve into the character changes and growth that the plot would seem to require. Standouts are Rebecca Lilak Sorrells, as the Italian-speaking maid, and Emma Greene, as a particularly appealing Rose Arnott. Barbara Cole Uterhardt, in the central role of Lotty Wilton, invests her role with energy, but not a lot of depth.

Charlie Miller’s sound design is generally delightful, although musical interludes tend to be a little long and rain sounds occasionally increase in volume almost to the point of drowning out dialogue. Piano music indicated in the script at the end of the show is omitted (perhaps because the character supposedly playing the piano remains on stage in Mr. Brown’s blocking). And boy! are the ramshackle stage crew noisy preparing for the second act transition.

This production of "Enchanted April" gets the point of the story across, but does not invest the story with a great deal of heart. It’s all played as a light-hearted romp involving paper-thin characters, with Charlie Miller’s turn as author Frederick Arnott particularly grating. The laughs are there, but in general these are not characters one is allowed to get too close to or care too much about. The talent is there in the cast, but the director hasn’t molded the action and portrayals to maximum dramatic effect. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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