With whiffs of Shirley Valentine's gutsy journey to selfhood and delectable chunks of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward witticisms swirling through a stew that thickens, eight disparate characters serve up secrets and attitudes both personal and societal. Enchanted April, set in post WWI London and Mezzago, Italy, surfaced as a film in 1992 but originated as a 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Matthew Barben's script based on von Arnim's novel delivers the wit as characters drop one-liners and cleverly spar. Jennifer Loia Alexander directed with a deft eye for expected British romantic comedy character type. Civic veteran Marni Lemons' small gestures - a flick of a glove, a lift of an eyebrow - stir the audience to laughter. Equally, Elena Marr, making her Civic debut and speaking in fluent Italian, is thoroughly understandable through precise mime. The story simmers on a simple, functional set for Act 1 and boils on a lush setting for Act 2. Carrie A. Schlatter-Schwer, as Lotty Wilton, feeling suppressed by a domineering husband and oppressed by incessant rain, convinces three other women to rent a villa in Tuscany to find beauty in bloom. While on opening weekend Schlatter-Schwer was not yet delivering thoroughly understandable British diction and had not yet found all the nuances of the character, playing her instead on one high note, the production as a whole engaged. Through Feb. 15; 317-923-4597, www.CivicTheatre.org.

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