Courtesy photos
                                The cast of “Bell, Book and Candle,” from left: Michael Solan (who plays Sidney Redlitch), Connor Nuckols (Nicky Holroyd), Natasha Brown-Williams (Gillian Holroyd), Bryan Blackburn (Shepherd Henderson), and Barbara Harm (Aunt Queenie).

Courtesy photos The cast of “Bell, Book and Candle,” from left: Michael Solan (who plays Sidney Redlitch), Connor Nuckols (Nicky Holroyd), Natasha Brown-Williams (Gillian Holroyd), Bryan Blackburn (Shepherd Henderson), and Barbara Harm (Aunt Queenie).

Driftwood stages a truly magical romantic comedy

  • Thu Feb 13th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Kat Bryant

Grays Harbor News Group

The Driftwood Players are conjuring romantic comedy every weekend through Feb. 23 at their Aberdeen theater.

“Bell, Book and Candle,” written by John Van Druten, is set in the mid-1950s. Gillian Holroyd (played here by Natasha Brown-Williams) is a beautiful young witch who finds herself attracted to her neighbor, book publisher Shepherd Henderson (Bryan Blackburn). When Gillian learns that Shepherd is engaged to a woman she knew and despised in college, she shifts into high gear to break up the engagement and exact her revenge for past wrongs.

She uses her cat, Pyewacket, to cast a love spell on Shep, and he becomes immediately enamored with her. A short time later, he proposes marriage. Gillian finds herself actually falling for him, which poses a problem: She will lose her powers if she falls in love.

Director-in-training Jim Patrick is running this production, with mentorship from veteran director Ben Hohman.

“My understanding was that this was Natasha’s first lead role. That fact always makes a director nervous,” said Patrick. “When we learned that she has a reputation as a dedicated and very hard-working artist, the nervousness that I had was reduced significantly. And she has lived up to her reputation.

“We were blessed with a superb cast supporting her on and off stage,” he added. “It was truly a complete collaboration. Without all of them, it truly doesn’t work.”

Supporting characters are Gillian’s charming brother, Nicky Holroyd (played by Connor Nuckols); her eccentric Aunt Queenie (Barbara Harm); and Sidney Redlitch (Michael Solan), an author and magical groupie of sorts.

And then, of course, there’s Gillian’s feline familiar. How did they manage to find a cooperative kitty to play that important role?

“Pyewacket is a battery-powered cat that can move, purr and meow. It is made by Hasbro and is used primarily with elderly patients with memory issues,” said Patrick. “My older sister has dementia, and I will give Pye to her once the show closes.”

Tickets are available for $15 at www.aberdeendriftwood.com; City Center Drug in Aberdeen; Harbor Drug in Hoquiam; Valu-Drug in Montesano; and the Dusty Trunk in Ocean Shores.

The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 1:30 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 23 at the Driftwood Playhouse, 120 E. Third St. in Aberdeen.

This show is appropriate for teens and adults.

 

Gillian (Natasha Brown-Williams) strokes her familiar, Pyewacket, in “Bell, Book and Candle.”

Gillian (Natasha Brown-Williams) strokes her familiar, Pyewacket, in “Bell, Book and Candle.”

Gillian (Natasha Brown-Williams) smiles at the smitten Shepherd Henderson (Bryan Blackburn).

Gillian (Natasha Brown-Williams) smiles at the smitten Shepherd Henderson (Bryan Blackburn).