BLT Triumphs with Enchanted April
A Review by Marvin Barg (for The Transylvania Times)
Brevard Little Theatre’s current production, Enchanted April by Matthew Barber, is a
romantic comedy in the best sense of the phrase: It is both romantic and funny. Based on
a 1922 novel of the same name by Elizabeth von Amim, the play enjoyed a successful
Broadway run in 2003 and was awarded the Gassner Award for Outstanding New
American Play, in addition to being nominated for a Tony award for best play. (There is
also a movie adaptation of the book.) The beautifully-written, crisp dialogue engages the
audience as it tells the story of four women who begin their odyssey as strangers and
discover laughter and romance while learning new truths about themselves and each
The play takes place in London and Italy in 1922, four years after the end of World War I.
The BLT cast, under the very capable direction of Andrea Komaridis, convincingly
transports us to Europe. Rain, thunder, and well-delivered British accents open the story
in London, followed by a sunny, wisteria-filled month in Italy where the audience is treated
to humorous doses of Italian language and culture. The spare and effective sets reflect
the physical and emotional contrast of the two acts. The set for the first act is rendered in
dark and muted colors, while the second act set is full of brightly-lit springtime colors.
Veteran BLT actress Lyn O’Hare plays the lead role of Lotty Wilton, and she is in
complete command of this demanding role from beginning to end. The story unfolds
through this central character, and O’Hare brings just the right combination of naïveté,
wisdom, and boundless energy for the play to succeed. Her interpretation of Lotty marks
a new high in artistic achievement for O’Hare.
Paula Johnson returns to the BLT stage in the role of Rose Arnott, an unhappily married
woman who desperately tries to ignore the sad and constricting realities of her life.
Johnson superbly transforms the emotionally-shackled Rose to a vibrant young woman
who loves life again. Johnson was riveting in her role of the mother in BLT’s production of
An Abiding Place last spring, and she brings that same mesmerizing stage presence to
this production as well.
Lotty’s social-climbing husband, Mellersh Wilton, is played with style by Darien Aiken who
goes from properly stuffy and self-absorbed in Act I to hilarious in his scene with
Costanza, the Italian cook, in Act II. Garren Orr makes his BLT debut as Frederick Arnott,
Rose’s self-absorbed, globe-trotting husband. His discomfort during his unexpected
confrontation with the women in his life in Act II is quite amusing.
Another newcomer to the BLT stage, Melissa Raquel, plays the role of Lady Caroline
Bramble, one of Rose and Lotty’s recruits. She is perfect in the role, both in her carriage
and in her interpretation of the character. The other recruit, Mrs. Graves, is played with
genteel malice and great comic timing by Marjorie Megivern. Already well known in the
Brevard area for her one-woman shows portraying famous American women, Megivern
has directed two previous BLT productions, but this is her first BLT stage appearance.
Stephen McIntyre steps onto the BLT stage for the first time as Antony Wilding, the owner
of the villa. He is very likeable in the role, projecting a sort of easygoing, artless charm.
The cast is rounded out by Emilia Thompson who is convincing and very funny as
Costanza, the overburdened cook and general factotum for the villa, who speaks only
Enchanted April is an enchanting play. It will make you laugh, lift your spirits, and give
you something to think about as well. Performances at the Cherokee Room Theater,
Connestee Falls Clubhouse, will be at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March
31, and at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 1. For reservations call 884-2587. For pre-theatre dinner
reservations at the Connestee Falls Overlook Clubhouse call 884-5622.
Melissa Raquel, Lyn O'Hare and Paula Johnson