The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

London laughter meets Italian romance

Four women are alone in an Italian castle, add sunshine, the ocean and a housekeeper during an “Enchanted April” and love will blossom even from broken hearts.

The City College Theatre Group presents a romantic comedy about two women’s search for love and peace in Italy.

The two London housewives, Lotty Wilton (Kati Soleil) and Rose Arnott (Laureen Siciliano), rent an Italian villa for a secret holiday away from bleak marriages and unappreciative husbands.

“Enchanted April” is a Tony-nominated play, adapted from Elizabeth von Armin’s 1922 romantic-comedy novel, and is now directed by Rick Mokler at City College.

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While displaying the social changes and loss of World War I, the comedy lifts the spirits of the audience with the romantic lure of Italy. The audience is drawn in to the play by the warmth of Lotty despite the cold and rainy setting in England.

Though Rose says she’s a happy woman, she gets swept up in Lolly’s passionate words of peace and heaven away from the unhappy, childless marriages both of them share. Lotty’s husband Mellersh Wilton (Jon Koons) is a stuffy Englishman who runs the household like clockwork. If things are not done right, it looks poorly on the husband, he said.

Frederick Arnott (Sean O’Shea), Rose’s husband is never home. Once a poet, now a romance novelist, he is always at parties or on a book tour.

The women want and need a holiday but quickly realize that the rent of the castle is too much for the two of them to spend and decide to invite two more women they have never met.

They recruit two other very different English women to share the cost and the experience, while still keeping the secret of the holiday from their husbands.

Lady Caroline Bramble (Kelli Coleman) and Mrs. Graves (Marion Freitag) are the two opposites of Rose and Lotty, but all four realize during their trip that each woman has something to offer that the other is lacking.

Lady Caroline is an independent “modern” of her time. She is a young attractive woman recently widowed by the war.

Mrs. Graves is an older, bitter woman unwilling to change. Lady Caroline and Mrs. Graves pair up to learn from each other and their experiences.

The four women who rent the Italian castle experience laughter again, learn new things about themselves and their companions, once again ignite the fire of their marriages, and find unexpected romance.

The women’s enchanted, magical month in the Mediterranean gets even better when the owner of the castle, Antony Wilding (Jon Zuber) joins them for a few days in Italy.

Antony is a romantic man willing to share his beloved castle with the women. He, along with the others, falls under the spell of the tranquil, sun-drenched surroundings. Costanza (Sam Muir) brings more comedy to the stage with her Italian-only dialogue.

Although most of the audience did not understand Italian, they did understand her hand gestures and animated facial features.

The setting for act two is breathtaking with a sunny patio, two working fountains and a spectacular castle that was no let down for the women or the audience. The charm of this comedy, the wonderful direction of Mokler and the excellent performances from all the cast members made this play a stunning and well-rounded theatrical performance sure to lift-up anyone’s evening.

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