She Loves Me a Delightful Step Back into 1930’s Romance

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She Loves Me – Performance Photos

by Lorraine Payette, written June 26, 2014

The sweet aroma of love is in the air at Maraczek’s Parfumerie as Ilona Ritter (Kristen Galer) and Steven Kodaly (Kevin McGarry) continue their on-going affair. Not quite as obvious is the love developing between shy and stressed manager Georg Nowack (Ron Pederson) and his mysterious pen-pal, “Dear Friend”. But things get tense and tempers start to flare when a nervous young woman, Amalia Balash (Alison MacDonald) applies to work with them. She and Georg aren’t quite sure if they can tolerate each other or not. However, poor Amalia also finds that her best stress relief is through writing to her pen-pal, a “Dear Friend” …

What will happen when they discover who their pen-pals really are?

The play is brilliantly cast, with each performer fitting perfectly into each role. Scenes are well scripted, with costume and sets making the 1930s setting very believable. However, two of the biggest surprises are the amazing choreography of the scene changes, and a performance by a hitherto unknown actor – Bunchie Kliffer.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Shelby. “I think that it’s very touching – I even cried a little bit.”

“It’s really delightful,” said Erin. “We’re big fans of ‘You’ve Got Mail’, so it’s quite nice to see a story that’s familiar but with great songs and set in the ‘30s. The costumes, sets and everything have just been really wonderful. It’s been an absolute delight. If you have a car and get out to Gananoque, I would definitely recommend it to everyone.”

Without using a curtain, all sets and scenes are changed as part of an intricate dance worked into the play in a completely unobtrusive manner. Everything feels right, and when the action moves from inside the shop to outside, or vice versa, you feel that you are simply stepping through the doors with the characters. Larger destination changes are equally effective, giving the entire play a natural and energetic feel, without ever once taking away from the sense that you are witnessing year-round life in a busy parfumerie.

“I thought the play was quite good,” said Nick. “I’ve watched quite a few productions here and other places, and this was very enjoyable. The script is quite amusing and the songs are very well performed, I’m quite impressed with it.”

Bunchie makes a very short cameo appearance in the part of a customer’s dog. However, Bunchie’s story is unique in that she started her theatre involvement after leaving the Toronto Humane Society to become a permanent member of the Alan Kliffer household (the waiter and member of the ensemble). Her joy at finding a forever home only enhances her ability to take direction well and perform her duties on stage, stealing the hearts of all members of the audience. There are many more like Bunchie out there, just waiting to show you what your love and a little faith can really do. The theatre wishes to invite all those who would like to find a humane society in Ontario to go to http://www.ontariospca.ca .

“I loved it,” said Mabel Robillard. “Everyone is so talented, and the singing is wonderful.”

“I was just surprised they could all sing so well,” said Dona Pytel. “It was amazing. We’re from near Ottawa, so we came a pretty long way for it. I would recommend that everyone come out to see it if they can.”

“She Loves Me” runs from June 20 – July 19, 2014, at the Springer Theatre, 690 Charles Street South in Gananoque, Ontario. Running time for the play is 2 hours, 30 minutes. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Wednesday after opening night). Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $16 for students. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each including GST. This show is recommended for people of all ages. For more information, please go to http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.

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