The Mill at Sonning
0118 969 8000
Sonning Eye, Reading, RG4 6TY.
My Fair Lady, 23rd November to 27th January
By Lerner and Loewe. The story of Eliza Dolittle – the Cockney flower girl who speaks in ‘yowls’ and not ‘vowels’, plucked off the streets of London by the arrogant Professor Higgins declaring he can pass her off as a Duchess in six months – has rightfully captivated audiences for decades. Add to this an unforgettable score including songs Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?, On The Street Where You Live, I Could Have Danced All Night and Get Me To the Church On Time and My Fair Lady’s phenomenal success worldwide is readily understood. See the review below.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1st February to 17th March
By Arthur Conan Doyle. Sir Charles Baskerville dies in mysterious circumstances. A look of fear and terror on his face. Legend has it there is a curse on the family – a curse in the form of a gigantic, ferocious, glowing Hound of Hell – that brings death to each successive head of the Baskerville family. And when Sir Henry Baskerville returns from overseas to claim his inheritance and property on the treacherous terrain of darkest Dartmoor, he calls on the renowned Sherlock Holmes to help him solve the mystery of his uncle’s violent death. Is there really a revenge-seeking Hound? Or are there other evil motives at work? Holmes and Watson’s most chilling case is brought imaginatively to the stage in the style of the West End hit The 39 Steps. This legendary plot has been given a new life by father and son team, Simon and Tam Williams. You will be shocked. And scared. As well as amused. And entertained. As this intriguing story full of horror and thrills unfolds before you.
Move Over, Mrs Markham, 18th April to 2nd June
By Ray Cooney and John Chapman. The setting is an elegant London flat belonging to the happily married Philip and Joanna Markham. Philip, a straight-laced publisher of children’s books, has reluctantly agreed to let Henry Lodge, his partner, borrow the apartment for the evening to entertain a new girlfriend. At the same time, Joanna Markham has allowed Linda Lodge to borrow the apartment so she can rendezvous with her lover. What nobody knows is that the Interior Designer has also decided that this is the night he wants to try out the new oval bed – with the au pair girl When the Markhams’ evening out is cancelled, it is too late to let any of the parties know and three sets of hopeful lovers all converge on the bedroom at the same time. The situation is further complicated by the arrival of Olive Harriet Smythe, a dour and successful authoress. The frantic efforts of the Markhams to hide the amorous goings-on and, at the same time sign up Miss Smythe, lead to a hectic and hilarious evening where, as in all farces, chaos and confusion reign!! The Mill is thrilled that Ray Cooney, the world-renowned master of comedy, will direct this play that he co-wrote with the brilliant John Chapman. Don’t miss this saucy, sparkling and riotously funny treat. You won’t stop laughing !
The Unexpected Guest, 7th June to 28th July
A dark and foggy evening causes a driver to run his car into a ditch. He makes his way to an isolated house where he discovers a woman standing over the dead body of her wheelchair-bound husband. A smoking gun is in her hand. What’s more she admits to murder. Then surprisingly the unexpected guest offers to help her concoct an alibi. But is it possible that Laura Warwick did not commit the murder after all? If so, who is she shielding? As the ghosts of a past wrong begin to emerge, a tangled web of lies reveals family secrets and chilling motives, where the real murderer turns out to be the greatest mystery of all! This intriguing ‘whodunnit’ by Agatha Christie twists and turns towards an edge-of-your-seat climax. Leaving you guessing until the last chilling moment.
Review of My Fair Lady
23rd November 2017 to 27th January 2018
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
By George, they've got it
Intimate Mill provides a big theatre experience with My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady, at The Mill at Sonning, until January 27
As the programme put it, 'We've Shaw come a long way' since George Bernard wrote Pygmalion in 1912, in an attempt to shine a light on how class and sex affect a person's experience of the world.
The play was successful, but not nearly as much as the stage musical My Fair Lady, which opened on Broadway in 1956 with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison.
The 1964 film kept Harrison, but replaced Andrews with Audrey Hepburn (who actor Emma Thompson unkindly said couldn't really act or sing). Hepburn's voice was dubbed for the songs, but Bethan Nash had no problem in this sparkling production. As Eliza Doolittle, her speech, appearance and gestures were spot-on, particularly her Cockney flowergirl in the early scenes, which she clearly relished. Martin Fisher as Henry Higgins was impressive in his portrayal of the arrogant, selfish and rude speech therapist, but missed out on the loud, flamboyant character usually associated with this part. The two actors integrated well together and both had good singing voices – always a bonus in shows like this.
His rudeness was obvious though, never more so than when he kept her for hours trying to pronounce one word.
"Didn't I sie that?", Eliza asks. "No," he replies, "you didn't even say that."
Eric Carte was a good Colonel Pickering, suitably pompous and bluff, although he did suffer one momentary blip when he addressed Higgins as Pickering. Phil Snowden had fun with the part of dustman Alfred Doolittle – loud, cocky and a perfect Jack-the-lad (although wasn't the part originally played as a coalman?).
Felicity Duncan came across as a very empathetic Mrs Pearce and Susan Kyd was a sympathetic Mrs Higgins, soon showing her affinity with the unfortunate Eliza. The 12-strong cast all did well as singers, dancers and actors, many of them doubling up parts, and Joseph Pitcher kept the pace moving along as director and choreographer. There were only four musicians, but they played with vigour and almost managed to sound like a full orchestra at times.
With a composite set, clever lighting and a dedicated cast – brilliant dance routines as well – this was a small ensemble playing up a storm and achieving a big theatre experience.
For more details
see the Mill's web site at www.millatsonning.com.
Reviews in the Archive
Perfect Wedding (September 2017)
Spider's Web (July 2017)
Improbable Fiction (March 2017)
Dead Simple (January 2017)
High Society (November 2016)
The Hollow (July 2016)
Last of the Red Hot Lovers (March 2016)
The Perfect Murder (January 2016)
Stepping Out (November 2015)
Round and Round the Garden (October 2015)
Love, Loss, and What I Wore (August 2015)
Killjoy (May 2015)
Educating Rita (January 2015)
Last Confessions of a Scallywag (July 2014)