Theatre Group see Move over Mrs Markham

Once again the Theatre Group greatly enjoyed a theatrical performance, this time of Move Over Mrs Markham, at The Mill at Sonning on Wednesday 30th May.  The play is like a Brian Rix farce and was directed by Ray Cooney who co-wrote it with John Chapman in 1971.  As usual at this theatre an informal dinner was included prior to the performance.  The menu selection and the food were good which all added to the conviviality of the occasion.

Those visiting for the first time would find the environment extraordinary, the theatre/restaurant being a restored and surprisingly extensive 17th century flour mill.  Many original mill artefacts have been retained, and a great mill wheel is on view still churning away, apparently supplying electric power to the building.  Everywhere there are ancient wooden beams, and the sense of the historic is maintained in the horse-shoe shaped auditorium.  There we looked down on to the stage-set of a sitting room and adjoining bedroom of a London flat decorated and furnished as for the 1970s, with a number of strategically place doors which were to play an important part in the proceedings.

We were soon to learn that once the flat owners, the straight-laced Philip and Joanna Markham, have gone out for the evening, their Interior Designer plans to try out the new oval bed – with the au-pair girl.  But, unknown to them, Philip Markham has reluctantly agreed to let his business partner borrow the flat for the evening to entertain his new girl-friend.  Meanwhile Joanna Markham has also allowed the business partner’s wife to borrow the apartment so that she can rendezvous with her lover.

Then the Markham’s’ evening out is cancelled – but too late to stop the convergence of the multiple lovers at the flat.  So of course there ensue farcical compromising situations, desperate attempts at concealment along with bogus explanations which lead to further hilarious complications.  To compound it all a highly principled middle-aged authoress arrives willing to sign a lucrative business contract so long as everything is prim and proper!

The story is fast-paced, the dialogue rife with saucy ambiguities, the acting brilliant, the casting and costumes totally believable.  The whole performance was greeted with gales of laughter from the audience.

Well done Malcolm for organising another successful Theatre Group outing.  It was a splendid evening.

John Grimshaw