Press Release: Charley’s Aunt

It has been a very long while since we at Metro have had the confidence to set a re-opening date for the final production of our 57th season – we have missed you!

With COVID -19 protocols being continually updated and implemented, and safety for all our top priority,  Metro Theatre is thrilled to raise the curtain for Charley’s Aunt on stage September 25 – October 17, 2020. Written by Brandon Thomas, edited by Paul Thain, and directed by Alison Schamberger, this well-loved century old British comedy plays on the trope of a ridiculous person impersonating a serious one.

 

In short: Charley’s aunt isn’t Charley’s aunt.

Charley's Aunt is really Charlye's friend smoking a cigar dressed upp like his auntJack Chesney and Charles Wykham, two upperclass, gimmick-prone Oxford students, find themselves “soft-hearted” with love. Both plan to propose. But since their Victorian-era girlfriends won’t stay in Chesney’s room without a chaperone, their success depends on the appearance of Charley’s aunt, Donna Lucia Delores, a wealthy widow from Brazil (as one of the most famous line in the play states, “where the nuts come from”).

the ladies with Charleys aunt and their beausOf course, when Donna Lucia sends news of a late arrival, the boys improvise. Their equally lovestruck friend, Babbs, happens to be trying on a woman’s costume for his theatre class. Poor timing strikes, and Babbs finds himself reluctantly impersonating Donna Lucia as a lineup of unexpected visitors, from money-seeking suitors to the real Donna Lucia herself, appear, weaving an increasingly complicated network of pseudo-relationships.

The famous university song, “Let us rejoice, therefore/ While we are young” encapsulates the mood of Charley’s Aunt – a coyly flirtatious play about young people in love trying to circumvent the constraints of Victorian society. It is very much a play of its time; chaperones, letters of permission to marry and audience sympathy for a son of the aristocracy who cannot pay his champagne bill. A comedy of situations and society, slapstick, a romp of wit, exaggerated manners, and eccentric character that does not show its age, is indeed the spirit we hope to maintain in the current production of Charley’s Aunt. ”  Alison Schamberger, Director. 

Tickets $30 (includes GST) can be reserved by calling the Box Office 604 266 7191 or PURCHASE TICKETS

Audience Advisory: Charley’s Aunt is suitable for all ages – respecting this piece shared the prejudices of the Victorian century. You are welcome to call the Box Office 604 266 7191 for more details.

Babbs dressed in drag as Charelys aunt toasting with a whiskey

 

Metro Theatre is a non-profit theatre company, dedicated to promoting and developing theatre arts.

This is our 57th continuous season of bringing laughter, intrigue and surprise to live audiences. CHARLEY’S AUNT is our 523rd show.

The women in a sitting room and the men in a seperate parlor

Charley’s Aunt ~ Cast & Crew

CAST OF CHARACTERS
Charley Wykeham……………………….. Alex Ross
Amy Spettigue………………………… Celeste Musseau
Lord Fancourt Babberley…………… Hayden Clewes

Ela Delahay……………………………… Jamé Wonacott

Jack Chesney…………………………… Kurtis Maguire
Kitty Verdun…………………………….. Kelsey Robertson
Brassett…………………………………… Roger Monk
Sir Francis Chesney………………….. Peter Robbins
Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez……………. Monika Curman
Stephen Spettigue…………………….. Tom Kavadias

 

THE PRODUCTION TEAM
Director…………………………………. Alison Schamberger
Producer………………………………. Catherine Morrison
Stage Manager……………………….. Shay Cameron
Assistant Stage Managers……….. Colleen Shook; Deborah Watts; Gwen Palmer
Set Designer…………………………… Todd Parker
Costume Designer…………………… Claire Turner
Lighting Designer…………………….. Les Erskine
Sound Designer………………………. Roger Monk
General Manager…………………….. Les Erskine
Technical Director………………………Les Erskine
Scenic Carpenter…………………….. Robin Richardson
Scenic Painting/Set Decoration…. Tracy-Lynn Chernaske
Publicity…………………………………. Debra Danny
Graphic Design…………………………Barbara LaBounta
Photography…………………………….Tracy-Lynn Chernaske

Charley’s Aunt ~The Story

The play Charley’s Aunt  debuted in 1892. It is a great mix of comedy, romance, mistaken identities, and simply hilarious dialogue that has lost none of its power to tickle an audience’s funny bone.

The set-up involves two upper-class, but impecunious, students at Oxford: the enthusiastic, over-excitable Jack Chesney and the even more enthusiastic, hyper-excitable Charles Wykeham.  Both are swooning with love. But how to find an opportunity to declare their feelings to the objects of their affection, consistent with late-Victorian proprieties?

Charley's Friend dressed up as his aunt chaperoning Charley his girlfirend and another Oxfod friend and his girl.The opportunity arrives in the form of a projected visit from the eponymous aunt: she can fill the required chaperone role. But wait: she telegraphs that she will be delayed, so what to do since the girls are about to arrive? The two swains dragoon a friend, Lord Fancourt Babberly , into donning a dress and wig to impersonate the aunt, Donna Lucia, a wealthy widow from Brazil (“Where the nuts come from,” in the play’s most famous line). Babbs, as he is known to his friends, must then navigate both the demands of an impromptu drag performance and burgeoning plot complications.

The ladies seated in the parlor anticiapting their datesEnter the girls: Kitty Verdun in love with Jack; Amy Spettigue, in love with Charley; and, in the second act, Ela Delahay, in love with Babbs. They are bubbly, giddy, and filled to the brim with girlish glee.

Then, just as the boys’ ruse seems to be making progress, the real Donna Lucia appears. The warmly wise Donna Lucia quickly decides to play along, and her efforts are key to ensuring a happy ending for everyone in this timeless story about the unpredictability of love.

Playwright Thomas was a renowned character actor in his day, and he created some juicy character roles in Charley’s Aunt. There’s Jack’s hearty father, Sir Francis , who isn’t about to let a little thing like financial disaster diminish his cheerful mien. There’s the disagreeable, smarmy, gold-digging Stephen Spettigue , who pursues the false Donna Lucia in hopes of a big payday. And perhaps, best of all, there’s Brassett , the boys’ veteran butler, who has seen everything, is surprised at nothing, and whatever the madness around him, keeps calm and carries on.

Charley is not really Charley'ss AuntThe stage is set for lots of chases, scenes of mistaken identity, conversations at crossed purposes and wildly improbable coincidences –  all important elements for a classic farce.  

FAST FACTS

SHOW TIMES:

Evening Performances at 8 pm: Sept 24,25,26,30 & Oct 1,2,3,7,8,9,10,14,15,16,17

Matinee Performances at 2 pm: Sept 27 & Oct 4, 11

SHOW RUN:

Sept 25 – Oct 17, 2020

There is NO  Director’s Talk  for this show.

The Preview is on Thursday, Sept 24, 2020 – it is the final dress rehearsal.

  • Running Time: approx 3 hours includes 2 SHORTENED  INTERMISSIONS (to allow for set and costume changes 5-7 minutes)
LOCATION:

1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC.  Next to the on-ramp to the Arthur Lang Bridge by Marine Drive and Granville .

Brandy, cigar and books on an empty chair
TICKET PRICING:

$30 for Adults/Students/Seniors with a special every Wednesday 2 tickets for $42. Preview is $20.

*GST is included in all ticket prices

Tickets can be reserved by calling the Box Office 604 266 7191 or purchased on line TICKETS

 

BOX OFFICE WINDOWS HOURS:

BOX OFFICE OPENS 4:00 on Performance Days 

Voicemail or email responses at other times
Box Office Phone: 604 266 7191
LICENSED LOUNGE HOURS:

No Bar Service for this show due to COVID-19 protocols

PARKING:

There is plenty of easy parking – in the parking lot, on the street, even ‘All Evening Parking’ for $4 at the Liquor Store Lot just up the street from Metro.

BUS ROUTES:

We’re close to the Marpole bus loop and on the #10 route. Check out www.translink.ca for transit directions.

CONTACT:

Metro Theatre via the contact form at the bottom of this page for more information, publicity photos, and arrangements for interviews.