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Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus

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Hilarity begins when twin brothers swap lives, hoping their very different personalities will help extract each other from sinking in the quicksand of economic ruin in the play, "Hocus Pocus." One actor will play the twin brothers in the comedy, which will be performed by the Norwich Arts Council Theater, and opens Friday at the Donald Oat Theater in Norwich.

The play runs through June 6.

The two brothers, who cordially dislike each other, could be called polar opposites.

"The two twins are opposite from each other in their life views — one's a vicar and one is a businessman.

By the end of the show, they become more toward the center in terms of their outlook on life," said director Theresa Broach, who noted all the characters in this 10-character play undergo transformation.

"They go from one attitude or philosophy or view of life and it changes to another." Reverend Simon Ross is an honorable country vicar who has plowed through a small inheritance when he makes repairs to his crumbling church, unwittingly deprecating the available money and plunging into debt.

His more aggressive brother, Peter, a purported millionaire, does have a head for figures, but he is only glad to escape to the country as he is dreading a meeting with stockholders who are after his blood after being short-changed.

The two brothers are effective in handling each others' crisis.

The vicar soothes the angry stockholders with an unexpected dose of honesty, and Peter bears down upon a crooked alderman who coughs up the money to pay off the church's debt to the contractors.

Unexpected twist An unexpected twist in the identity switch is each brother has a love interest — and the women fall for the impersonator, much to their surprise.

The play was chosen because it isn't overly performed, as well as the potential for audiences to relate to the play's shareholders, who feel swindled by the powers that be — which is similar for shareholders in today's economic climate, Broach said.

The play was written by Jack Popplewell and was originally set in the '50s, but this production places it in contemporary times.

What is maintained, though, is the London setting, and the country environment outside the city, all of which are integral to the show.

"The play is an exercise in people's attitudes and how they deal with each other and the morays of the small village versus London, and how they kind of clash sometimes," Broach said.

Some of the changes they have made to the show include updating monetary figures and inserting references to Bernie Madoff — the most infamous swindler of modern times.

But even with the economic woes casting a shadow across the characters' lives, this play remains an upbeat comedy.

"It's really a funny show with a lot of funny lines.

It's kind of like a little escape from everyday life," Broach said.

If you go What: "Hocus Pocus," a comedic play by Jack Popplewell, produced by the Norwich Arts Council Theater.

When: 7:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday and June 4-6 at and 2 p.m.


Where: The Donald L.

Oat Theater, 62 Broadway, Norwich.

Tickets: $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

For more information and for tickets, visit or call (860) 887-2789.
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