This play was performed at Montgomery Blair High School in November.
The Montgomery Blair Players helped audiences enter into an adventure of deception and disguise, and then to magically discover true love as well as never-ending laughs in their performance of "Charley's Aunt."
Their production of the classic comedy, written by Brandon Thomas, introduces two lovelorn lads, Charley Wykeham and Jack Chesney, who want to have the women they love over for tea so they can propose marriage. The girls, Kitty Verdun and Amy Spettigue, feel a chaperone is necessary, but when Charley's aunt, Donna Lucia d'Alvadorez, is unable to make it to the tea, the desperate young fellows seek the impersonation skills of the comical Lord Fancourt Babberly.
This, of course, sets off a series of blunders and hilarious adventures as the girl's guardian, Stephen Settigue, falls for Donna Lucia, who is really Lord Fancourt. Charley's actual aunt then enters the picture, which, as you can imagine, makes for some humorous moments.
Lord Fancourt, portrayed by Ben Austin-Decampo, was fantastic. Displaying an obvious comfort onstage as well as a knack for pulling off every comical line with ease, he had the audience eating out of his hand all night. On the few occasions when a scene dropped energy, his character appeared in the nick of time and livened things up.
Eric Glover and Ely Portillo, the duo who portrayed Jack Chesney and Charley Wykeham, brought an energized physical comedy to the stage and never failed to keep their "temporarily feminine" buddy disguised while proposing to their true loves.
In addition, Jack's butler, Brassett, played by Annie Pierce, should not go without being mentioned. Her sarcasm and witty attitude throughout the show was enjoyable to watch.
The scenery and props were appropriate for the time period, detailed, elaborate and a believable setting for this chaotic adventure.
Some secondary roles were not fully developed, and some characters' personalities were not evident to the audience. But that did not take away from the enjoyment of the evening.
The Blair Players' production of "Charley's Aunt" was energized and entertaining with its effective cast of characters, nice sets and a funny plot that still works today.
Magruder High School
Two desperate boys will go to extreme measures to get the attention of girls. Sound familiar? Montgomery Blair High School sure knows what that is like, and they proved it with Brandon Thomas's classic comedy, "Charley's Aunt," in recent performances.
With incredible sets and extravagant costumes, the Montgomery Blair Players performed a comedy to remember. Set in a Victorian dormitory room and college garden in the 1890s, the play starts out with two young men, Jack Chesney (Eric Glover) and Charley Wykeham (Ely Portillo), inviting their girlfriends over for tea and, secretly, marriage proposals. However, the girls, Amy Spettigue (Piper Hanson) and Kitty Verdun (Cynthia Lefevre), refuse to dine with the young men unless a chaperone is present.
Coincidentally, the lovelorn lads are expecting Charley's aunt, Donna Lucia d'Alvadorez, a Brazilian millionaire, but trouble arises when the aunt unexpectedly cancels, forcing the boys to resort to their friend Lord Fancourt Babberly (Ben Austin-Decampo) to impersonate Charley's aunt. Although he could have used a more feminine voice, Austin-Decampo captivated the stage with his exhilarating performance impersonating a rich Brazilian woman and was a favorite of the audience.
The plot is further complicated when Stephen Spettigue (Brian Koss), father of Amy, and Sir Francis Chesney (John Visclosky), father of Jack, both propose to Donna Lucia, never suspecting "she" is really Babberly. With their commanding stage presence, Visclosky and Koss were stunning in their roles.
To make matters worse, the real Donna Lucia and her ward arrive in the middle of chaos, and decide to play along with the charade. At the end, all identities are revealed and everyone celebrates a happy ending.
Although the actors could have enunciated better and held their line tempo in check, they all did well using English accents and voice projection.
With the audience's approval, the hardworking cast can feel proud to bring this hilarious comedy back to life. The appealing "Charley's Aunt" reminded us all that we would probably do anything for love.
Magruder High School