Ernst shines as leading lady - Ask Any Girl
The Landing, full almost to capacity, was completely and appropriately decked out in pink—napkins, flowers, poster, program, decorations, everything—for CHS Dessert Theatre’s wonderfully girly performances of Ask Any Girl last weekend. Alee Ernst shone as Meg Wheeler, the story’s leading lady. A veteran to the stage (with credits that include RuBarb Productions and Saskatchewan Express), her experience showed in her telling facial expressions, easy stage presence, and a performance that was delightfully believable—surprising for a stage comedy.
Graeme Neufeld played a stiff but winningly pleasant Miles Doughton, head of New York company D&D and tolerant older brother to Evan Doughton, Meg’s love interest (played by Shane Johnson).
Another jewel of a performance came from Lisa, one of Meg’s house-mates, played by Stephanie Potts. A hopeless, vivacious flirt and one of Evan Doughton’s many admirers, she most certainly caught the eye of more than her fellow characters.
The story, set in the 1960’s, began with 21-year-old Meg Wheeler stretching her wings by moving to New York City, where she would certainly find love, success, and best of all, independence.
When her parents questioned the appropriateness of say, moving out, wearing makeup, or donning a backless evening gown, Meg would spout a made-up statistic that would assure them that such behaviour was perfectly common—“ask any girl!”
After befriending a group of like-minded girls at the Madison Avenue Girls’ Hotel in New York, Meg lands a job working with—surprise!—statistics, and quickly develops a deep fondness for both her job and her boss, Evan Doughton, a playboy all to eager to win her affection (and that of every other girl within a ten-mile radius).
She enlists the help of the company head, Miles Doughton, convincing him to take her on as a client to conduct “market research”—that is, finding out what might make her more appealing to the "consumer" (Evan). They fall in love as they work, a predictable but, once again, delightfully believable twist thanks to Miss Ernst’s captivating feminine charm—from the attractive tilt of her head right down to the dainty way she stood.
Though the story's premise is purely whimsical, it is very well-written, adding to the performers’ success. Several quips and witty one-liners about things like girls’ endeavours in the relationship department rang true with the audience and had them laughing out loud on several occasions.
It was obvious that Director Heather Peters and 35 cast and crew members invested a great deal of time and passion in this lively comedy about a group of girls who just wanna have fun. As usual, a CHS Dessert Theatre performance well worth the time.