The Mill at Sonning - Last Confessions of a Scallywag
31st July to 27th September 2014.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
New farce with an Irish flavour
Last Confessions of a Scallywag, at The Mill at Sonning, from Thursday, July 31 to Sunday, August 24 and Friday, September 5 to Saturday, September 27
Seen previously only for one week in London at the Tristan Bates Theatre last year, this play began what will be a broken but extended run at Sonning at the end of July.
The scallywag in question is Patrick Lynch, played with a twinkle in his eye and well-timed movements throughout by Douglas McFerran. Lynch is supposedly on his deathbed as the play begins, being advised by his doctor, played by Michael Lumsden, to keep joking his medicine, not whisky, and by the priest, Father Ryan (Kerian Flynn), to confess his sins or seek the forgiveness of those he has sinned against
Flynn gave a good portrayal of the cleric, bringing out his enthusiastic religious beliefs and only occasionally lapsing into Father Ted territory. This was farce though, and dangers of that sort were strewn throughout this lively and well-paced production.
There were plenty of opportunities for ribald comedy, which the actors played up to the hilt. The kettle, which the invalid had been using as a chamber pot, for example, was inadvertently picked up to use for its correct purpose, prompting lines like "would you care for a wee drop of tea?".
Sean Baker showed good comic timing as John Breen, one of Lynch's many victims, and there were nicely animated performances by Susan Stanley as flatty; and Natalie Ogle as Sarah, with smaller parts played by Mary Keegan, an aggressive Mrs P when she is wronged and Su Douglas as Bertha Lynch.
Is Lynch really dying though, and if not, how will he avoid all the people he has just confessed to, inadvertently ruining their lives?
There was fine ensemble playing throughout and Dwina Murphy-Gibb's first play was well received by an enthusiastic audience in this production. The set was a realistic looking long and neglected room, designed by Eileen Diss and the play was directed by Sarah Berger.