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British farce opens at MOVP

The plot thickens as the real Aunt Donna Lucia, played by Kathy Biery, and her traveling companion, Ela Delahy, played by Erin Ammons, find themselves entertained by the imposter played by R.J. Lowe and Charley’s friend Jack played by Tim Tuten. (Photo Provided)

“Charley’s Aunt” by Brandon Thomas opens at 8 p.m. today in a production by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players in Marietta.

The British farce will run two weekends, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, June 25 and 26 and 3 p.m. June 27.

Tickets are available online at https://midohiovalleyplayers.org/products/charleys-aunt or at the box office at 229 Putnam one hour prior to curtain. Cost is $12. Tickets for the June 26 online stream are available at https://midohiovalleyplayers.org/…/charleys-aunt-online…

The cast includes Players regulars and the return of those who haven’t been on the Players Theatre stage for a long time.

“I’m happy to be part of not only this production and a member of an eclectic and passionate cast and crew, but to bring to life a fun, affirmative and joyful romp that contains huge laughs and moments of pure entertainment,”said George Litman, who plays Stephen Spettigue. “For the time I’ve spent away from the MOVP stage, I’m glad I was able to come back for this play in particular. More than ever, we need some laughter and fun in our lives. And with the return of live theater, ‘Charley’s Aunt’ has given us what we all need, and more.”

Madison Roe, a 2020 Marietta College graduate, returns after a lengthy hiatus and plays Kitty Verdun, the object of Jack Chesney’s affection.

“This has been a wonderful process and the perfect time for me to get back out on the stage. All of us in the cast have undoubtedly missed doing theatre, so this show has been a welcome addition to our schedules,” she said. “I hope you will enjoy watching the show as much as we enjoyed creating it! Thank you so much for supporting your local community theatre and please join us for the fun.”

The show is about romance and deception set in Victorian England. Two Oxford students, Charley Wykeham, played by Liam Kinnett, and Jack Chesney, played by Tim Tuten, recruit their wealthy playboy friend, Lord Fancourt Babberley, played by R.J. Lowe, to impersonate Charley’s Brazilian aunt, Donna Lucia, to chaperone a double date the pair have planned.

Unbeknownst to the trio, Jack’s father, played by George Faber, is after Donna Lucia’s fortune and the real Donna Lucia, played by Kathy Biery, has come to town incognito to check on her nephew.

Laughter ensues when the real aunt arrives while the elderly fortune hunter is already wooing the bogus aunt.

Biery is excited to be back on stage.

“The theater is open for business. I am looking forward to seeing everyone we’ve missed for the past year at the theater to see this hilariously funny farce,” she said. “We hope you enjoy watching as much as we have enjoyed working on it.”

The three-act comedy is directed by J.R. Wells and Susan Boyer.

“We are incredibly lucky to have an experienced and talented comedic cast for ‘Charley’s Aunt.’ The audience will love the energy and talent,” Boyer said. “Comic twists, misunderstandings, and mistaken identity are the hallmark of this happy farce. Come laugh with us.”

The play was first performed at the Theatre Royal at Bury St. Edmunds in February 1892. It then opened in London at the Royalty Theatre on Dec. 21, 1892, and quickly transferred to the larger Globe Theatre on Jan. 30, 1893.

The production broke the historic record for longest-running play worldwide, running for 1,466 performances. The play also was a success on Broadway in 1893 and in Paris where it had further long runs. It toured internationally and has been revived continually and adapted for films and musicals.

The cast list includes:

¯ Jack Chesney: Tim Tuten

¯ Mrs. Brassett: McKenzie Mayle

¯ Charley Wykeham: Liam Kinnett

¯ Lord Fancourt Babberley: R.J. Lowe

¯ Colonel Sir Francis Chesney: George Faber

¯ Kitty Verdun: Madison Roe

¯ Amy Spettigue: Meadow McCarthy

¯ Stephen Spettigue: George Litman

¯ Donna-Lucia D’Alvadorez: Kathy Biery

¯ Ela Delahay: Erin Ammons

¯ Directors: Sue Boyer, J.R. Wells

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