Metro Theatre

Enchanted April by Matthew Barber

Dates and Venue 13 June-11 July 2009 @ 8pm | Metro Theatre, 1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Enchanting, indeed! When two proper London housewives decide to rent a villa in Italy for a holiday away from their bleak marriages, they discover laughter, learn new truths about themselves and find romance. This play, nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play of 2003, left the audience smiling as they left the theatre.

In her programme notes, director Catherine Morrison comments that after reading Act I of the play, she immediately phoned a member of the play selection committee and, in tears, said: "We have to do this play!" And it was inded the right decision..

What enthralled the audience during the matinee performance I attended, among other things, was the set. I've always admired Dwayne Campbell's designs, but this was just a fabulous set. From the dreary and bleak ambience of the first act set in London, the set transformed into an awe-inspiring creation of flowers and sun, so much like the Tuscany region of Italy which I remember too well during a visit I made a few years back. I could hear the audience mesmerized and whispering "wows" as the curtain opened for the second act.

Even the characters were transformed from their bleak London costumes to the colourful and bright dresses in the second act. Kudos to Rene Schindel for those beautiful designs reflecting those loose, flowing dresses of the roaring 20s. With the costumes came a change in the ambience. From the frigid, standoffish characters of the first act, the actors blossomed into warm, human and romantic personnages, so much like southern Europeans.

Almost everyone in the cast was British, and thus, there were no problems with accents. But the show stealer was Helen Volkow playing the Italian maid Constanza who didn't speak a single word of English in this play except "Marvelous" in her Italian accent which got her a lot of laughs. The audience gave her a warm applause at curtain call.

I've been always delighted reviewing the shows of Metro Theatre. The sets are spotless and meticulously designed, and the plays are produced the way they were in the last century. It's also, I believe, the only community theatre that produces plays all year round. This play ends the season but in August, the new season begins. The choice of plays is also fabulous. In the next season, the company will be producing comedies by British playwright Eric Chapell, Americans Paul Olsen and Ken Ludwig, and Canadian Norm Foster as well as mystery thrillers by Agatha Christie and Brian Clemens.

Keep up the good work, Metro, and looking forward to your 2009/10 season!

© 2009 Ed Farolan