Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 10, 2010

Enchanted April

Suffield Players, Suffield, CT
through April 22, 2010
By Stacie Beland

"Enchanted April," performed by the Suffield Players, is a simple story of wanting more when more seems out of reach. In dreary London of 1922, four very different women who scarcely know each other somehow manage to arrange a trip to stay in a castle in Italy for the month of April. The lure of wisteria, warmth, and sunshine pull the women to this beautiful location, each for very different reasons. When they arrive, the site begins to change the women in different ways. It seems to settle them all, as if the castle holds the key to fulfilling the loses these women have endured.

The production itself is beautiful, thanks especially to the lavish set design of Konrad Rogowski and Robin Balaska. The stage magically transforms from dour, grey London to a piazza on the grounds of the castle, filled with light and flowers. The costuming, by Dawn McKay and Rebecca Murray, deserves a special mention as the perfect anchor to the play. Problematically on opening night, blackouts in between scenes run long, which has an impact on the flow of the production, though the effective sound design helps.

Director Dustin Sleight has sculpted a fine ensemble of characters out of a refreshing script. Vanda Doyle's Lotty Wilton is portrayed with a mixture of childlike imagination and a sense of frantic urgency. She's a delight to watch, though occasionally the rapid-fire frenetic nature of line delivery impacts the audiences' ability to understand her. Karen Balaska's Lady Caroline Bramble is a charmingly complicated flapper, Anna Marie Johansen gives life to the severe Mrs. Graves, and Amy Rucci is a joy as her Rose Arnott blossoms from being repressed to fulfilled. The supporting cast, too, join together to infuse this production with a breath of spring air.