The Mill at Sonning - Love, Loss, and What I Wore
6th August to 26th September 2015.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
From the writers of When Harry Met Sally
A scrapbook of women's stories entertains The Mill at Sonning
Love, Loss and What I Wore, at The Mill at Sonning, until Saturday September 26
You might think a show with this title had been written by the late Ernie Wise but no, the famous Ephron Sisters, Nora and Delia, wrote it and it became a big hit in New York in 2009.
The sisters took the memoir of Ilene Beckerman, working on the theory that 'if you ask women about their clothes, they tell you about their lives'. So they came up with this fascinating collection of sketches, what they wrote.
The Ephron sisters, you may recall, were famous for writing the screenplay of the film When Harry Met Sally with its evergreen scene of the fake orgasm in a restaurant. You know, the one where the woman at the next table famously says "I'll have what she's having"? Think of that sequence and you get a good idea of where this show is going. This is the UK premiere and the tales of fashion disasters, love affairs gone wrong, dress colours, shoe types, prom dresses, traumatic lighting in fitting rooms, short skirts, bras sizes and such will have every woman in the audience smiling and nodding agreement and men either saying 'Yes, I know all about that' or 'Well, I never would have thought…'
The show has some winning performances – from Rula Lenska, coy but acid-tongued, and in particular Louise Jameson, who combines just the right amount, of warmth, pathos, anger and humility into her character Rachel Fielding is mostly vulnerable but a fighter, so too is Sarah Lawrie and Cleo Sylvestre will ring bells for many women as she loves high heels, looks great in them but 'they hurt my feet so'.
The show starts innocuously enough, with Louise lamenting her mother's choice of dress for her at 13 years old, but towards the end, Sarah's heartfelt tale of disaster when only the colour of her bright red dress avoids total humiliation, will likely strike a few chords of recognition. Maybe she should have dipped deeper into that handbag containing tissues, lip balm, biscuit crumbs and disintegrating tampons.
Director Sarah Berger along with Eileen Diss, designer and Jane Kidd, costume designer complete an almost all female cast and crew. Matt Smee's sound and projection design for the screen images was crucial though in terms of timing. You needed him girls.