Both "charming" and "like an unwanted pregnancy," reads C.S. Whitcomb's description of her new play, The Seven Wonders of Chipping, premiering in a reading at Fertile Ground.

What she means, though, is that the story took on a life of its own, and indeed it is charming to the brim. How can you not love delectable British accents, quaint village stories, poetry and daffodils? As Whitcomb explains, it is a happy play, "the kind of play they don't write or produce much anymore."

It is boy-meets-girl with a culture barrier and plenty of spiked tea. As the genius virgin Cordelia unwillingly explores rural England with the help of a local veteran, family mysteries unwind and drunken comedy abounds. The entire cast plays the loveable roles with enjoyment and ease, bringing to life a quiet Cotswolds town without costumes or props.

This is not the reading for theatergoers seeking to feed their disillusionment or indulge their misanthropic tendencies. It will, however, prompt a chuckle and (dare I write it) pull at your heartstrings. To Whitcomb, her work is part The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, and to a younger generation it recalls the lesser film Leap Year. Though romance and charm bloom, slightly grittier moments address post-war trauma and dying parents. Still, it's no spoiler to say all ends happily ever after. And what's so bad about that?

SEE IT: Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Monday, Jan. 28. $10 suggested.