‘Enchanted April’ a delicious comedy with the desire to escape

Rachel Cain (left), Andrea Garcia, Mary Hooker and Charlene Hudgins star in “Enchanted April” at BCP through April 16. Courtesy picture.

When four very different women rent an Italian villa to recover from the trauma of World War I, they find a common path to forgiveness. Despite their individual trials, “Enchanted April,” which runs until April 16 at Beaumont Community Players, treats audiences to plenty of laughs as the women seek to escape their mundane lives.

Adapted from the 1923 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, the play tells the story of Lotty, Rose, Caroline and Mrs. Graves who pool their savings to rent a villa in Italy and get away from the rainy streets of London.

When Lotty Wilson (Rachel Cain) reads an ad in the newspaper for the rental, she is determined to get away. She convinces her church acquaintance, Rose Arnott (Mary Hooker), to join her. Lotty advertises for two other ladies to split the rent and is eventually joined by Caroline Bramble (Andrea Garcia) and Mrs. Graves (Charlene Hudgins).

The incessant rain of the first scenes symbolizes the misery of the quartet and their desire to escape to a heavenly paradise of wisteria and sunshine.

As they prepare to leave, Lotty and Rose confront their husbands, to whom they failed to tell that they are leaving. The couples mirror each other in a wonderfully written scene where the two conversations back and forth between each perspective. As the two women defend their positions, the public discovers their similarities. Director Robert Fong does a spectacular job presenting this intricate scene.

Cain plays a charming character with humorous dialogue reinforced by his micro expressions during the others’ lines. Her interactions with the other characters show Lotty’s optimism and spontaneity.

As the game progresses, we learn each character’s losses as they spend time together. Ms. Graves initially comes across as tough, however, her character relaxes and we see a nice evolution for her.

The villa setting, designed by Jerry McMillan, is a beautifully staged setting that completely immerses the audience in the story. In the first act, the villa is described only by the characters, which makes the final revelation, in act 2, all the more impressive.

The ensemble is skillfully rounded out by Donny Avery, JJ Johnson, Corey Winkler and Victoria LeBlanc as the hilarious maid, Costanza.

Lotty says, “for every ‘after’ found, something must be lost.” Each of the four women has lost something of great value. The villa serves as a safe place for them to grieve and learn to forgive others – and themselves.

Screenings for “Enchanted April” are April 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on April 9 at 2 p.m.

BCP is located at 4155 Laurel Ave. For more information, visit beaumontstages.com.

a lot
Rachel Cain (left), Mary Hooker and Charlene Hudgins star in ‘Enchanted April’ at BCP through April 16. Courtesy picture.

About Gene Schafer

Check Also

The 8 Best Rental Homes in Temecula, CA Wine Country

In vino veritas and, in truth, wine is an almost magical drink. Of that, you …