ENCHANTED APRIL opened at PlazaCo last weekend and the reviews for the show are coming in strong. Patrons are telling us that they weren’t sure what to expect with a show that they were unfamiliar with, but that they are walking away having loved this magical and beautiful show. Critic Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers echoes those sentiments with his fabulous review of the show. We hope you’ll examine these positive reports of the show and perhaps reconsider your willingness to attend a show that may be unknown to you. As the critics are saying: it’s worth giving something new a chance. Read on for a great review of the show and then call us at 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com to reserve.
GREENAWALT SPARKLES IN PLAZA’S ENCHANTED APRIL
by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers
There were hints and glimpses that she could do it, and now she has.
Stacey Greenawalt, who could be seen just on the periphery of the spotlight in her previous 13 Plaza Theater Company productions — the detective in “Clue the Musical,” the confused and frustrated fiancee who beats the daylights out of a corpse in “Cash on Delivery,” or the wealthy manipulator in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” — displayed the comic timing, expressiveness, charisma and energy that made you believe she could be the centerpiece. She can.
Albeit surrounded by some of Plaza’s most talented and veteran actors, Greenawalt is everything you knew she could be in PTC’s production of “Enchanted April,” playing through May 10 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.
With only eight actors, “Enchanted” is perfect for the intimacy of PTC’s 160-seat theater-in-the-round, and, as usual, the set designed by PTC cofounder JaceSon Barrus is clever and functional, serving its purpose without taking your attention away from the dialogue.
And the dialogue is fast, furious and often funny in this humorous play with dramatic undertones that, at first, appears to be about a girls getaway, but ends up being about facing problems, transformation and hope for tomorrow.
Greenawalt is Lotty Wilton, who lives with her very proper and very chauvinistic husband, Mellersh, (PTC fan favorite Jonathan Metting, who apparently lives at the Plaza and can handle with ease whatever part he’s assigned) in dreary, dark and damp London in 1922.
It’s raining as Lotty, tired of being the target of what today would be called psychological abuse, reads a “for rent” ad for a castle in Italy called San Salvatore and decides to spend her meager rainy-day fund to rent it for one month.
When Lotty sees Rose Arnott (played by the talented Tina Barrus) reading the same ad, she persuades Rose to join her, unlocking a dark history from Rose’s past that may have led to her tormented present.
Barrus, also a cofounder of PTC, is usually responsible for the company’s costumes, and she is this time, too, giving herself and the others outfits that fit the mood of the situations of Act 1, then transforming the outfits to just the right message for Act 2.
The scene where Lotty and Rose tell their husbands (Metting and the versatile Jay Lewis as Frederick Arnott) they are going away to Italy for one month is one of the most clever ever at the PTC. Both couples are on stage simultaneously but, as the spotlight jumps back and forth from one to the other, they alternate in delivering the news and dealing with the expected reaction.
It is a powerful scene with an unusual technique that requires split-second timing and delivery.
To help with expenses and make things interesting and entangled, Lotty and Rose take on two additional women — the street-wise Caroline Bramble (played smoothly by Jennifer Fortson) and the aristocratic Mrs. Graves, a role made for Trich Zaitoon, who can be overpowering when needed and dripping with sugar when necessary.
Completing the cast are Joann Gracey as Constanza, the Italian-speaking maid whose physical expressions need no interpretation, and Michael McMillan as Antony Wilding, the castle’s owner whose manners are impeccable and perceptions even sharper.
Although Bramble and Graves have taken the best rooms at the castle for themselves, Lotty and Rose are having such a good time they invite their husbands to join them — which causes a problem because Arnott (Lewis), who travels a lot promoting his salacious novels, is having a romantic relationship with Bramble. A scene when Metting decides to take a bath and the tub blows up is PTC physical comedy at its best.
Weaving the tapestry together is Greenawalt, using an energy that so connects with the audience that you just want to leave your seat and go rowing with her, or shopping, or for a walk, just to feel better.
As you would expect from a British comedy, all ends well, but it takes some laughs and serious introspection to get there.
“Enchanted April” is enchanting, indeed. See it.
Written by Matthew Barber from a novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim, directed by JaceSon Barrus with assistance from Jay A. Cornils, with costumes by Tina Barrus, with sound, set and lights designed by JaceSon P. Barrus, “Enchanted April” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a matinee at 3 p.m. Saturdays through May 10 at the Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main St. in Cleburne.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for age 65 and older and high school and college students, and $13 for children age 13 and under — and can be purchased online at http://www.plaza-theatre.com, or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, or by phone at 817-202-0600.