Arts and Entertainment

Review: Drama Dock’s latest show is a trip worth taking

Gaye Detzer and March Twisdale act up in “Enchanted April.”  - Steve Amos Photo
Gaye Detzer and March Twisdale act up in “Enchanted April.”
— image credit: Steve Amos Photo

If you’re like me and desperately need a respite from Vashon’s bone-chilling spring, I can recommend no easier or more affordable escape than to run, don’t walk, to book a ticket for Drama Dock’s latest show, “Enchanted April.” 

The show is a breath of fresh air, and you should see it — even if the sun comes out this weekend. It’s that good.

The Tony-nominated play by Michael Barber tells the story of Lottie Wilton, an unhappy London housewife in the 1920s who convinces three other women she barely knows to take off with her on a month-long holiday to a castle in Italy. 

It’s a road trip tale of ordinary women who break free of the drudgery and disappointments of their daily lives by doing something completely wild and crazy. 

Modern takes on the theme — think “Thelma and Louise” — sometimes emphasize the less savory aspects of such journeys of self-discovery, but there are no crime or sex sprees muddying up the uplifting plot of “Enchanted April.”

Instead, Drama Dock treats us to a stylish production that is full of happy surprises and more than a few deep, satisfying belly laughs.

Director Adam Brock and technical director Michael Figueroa have created a spare black and white set for the first act, which takes place in gloomy old England. The sound effect of rain pelting down is so convincing — and so familiar to Islanders — that one audience member turned to me as the show began and whispered, “Is that real or part of the play?”

The second half of the play, however, is set on the verdant grounds of the Italian castle — a place where wisteria tumbles off pergolas, blue water sparkles in the distance and flowers open up in the raucous colors of springtime.

Brock and Figueroa ably accomplish this change of scene through the magic of digital projections, truly transforming the stage into a garden of earthly delights. And what fun to watch our local thespians romp in that garden!

As Lottie, March Twisdale turns in a remarkable performance that could only happen on a community theater stage. It’s the first time Twisdale has had a speaking role in a play, and considering that, what she does is stunning: She merges completely with her character, turning in a nuanced, charming and believable performance. 

Gaye Detzer, as Lottie’s friend Rose, also scores with her comic and moving portrayal of a seemingly peevish and timid woman, who, it turns out, has reservoirs of both sadness and strength deep inside her.

Zoey Rice, as the sophisticated Lady Caroline Bramble, and Earthsong, as the rigidly old-fashioned Mrs. Graves, also shine in their juicy roles as the unlikely companions who join Lottie and Rose at the castle. Both Rice and Earthsong pull off the feat of letting their characters blossom quickly and magnificently, just like the gorgeous flowers that surround them. 

There are also hilarious, scene-stealing turns by Roman and Jordi Marquez-Twisdale as delightfully naughty servant boys and Frank Petree as the castle’s ancient caretaker. But it’s a special joy to see Elizabeth Anthony, the queen of the double take, treading the boards on Vashon again as Costanza, the long-suffering and yet wily castle cook. 

Michael Shook and Steven Smith — also newcomers to Drama Dock — nail their parts as one of the husbands and the love interest in the story. Here’s hoping we’ll see them in many more Drama Dock shows. 

And Phil Dunn, a Drama Dock regular, wows as usual in his portrayal of another of the pesky husbands in the play. 

All in all, I left the aptly named “Enchanted April” feeling like I’d just been on a wonderful trip — one that I was eager to tell all my friends about. Set sail to see the show, and you’ll be singing its praises too.

 

“Enchanted April” continues this weekend. For ticket information and times, visit www.dramadock.org.

 

 

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