The Mill at Sonning
0118 969 8000
Sonning Eye, Reading, RG4 6TY.
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! See the review below.
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.
Ten Times Table, 2nd August to 22nd September
Long due a revival, TEN TIMES TABLE is a play so funny that it displays playwright Alan Ayckbourn at the top of his game. Alan is a genius at analysing ordinary people in everyday situations. We follow the planning and disastrous outcome of a group of members of The Pendon community as they plan their small town's first pageant. The pageant is to be based on a long lost piece of local history - The Massacre of the Pendon Twelve - where the Earl of Dorset crushed an uprising of rebellious workers. As the meetings in the run down Swan Hotel progress, we see a natural divison between right-wing supporters of the patronising middle-class Helen, versus the bolshie left-wing teacher Tim and his two adoring female groupies. All have very different views of what the pageant should be and what it represents. Battle commences. The day of the pageant arrives. And what was a mock-up of the event now becomes the real thing as both sides clash with hilarious and riotous results!
A Night in Provence, 27th September to 17th November
By Robin Hawdon. Ah Provence! Ah The French Riviera! Where optimistic holidaymakers rent luxury villas for exhorbitant sums in order to get their annual fix of sun, sea, and haute cuisine. However, imagine the crisis if one such sumptuous place was double booked. Worse - imagine it triple booked! By a French couple - Maurice and Yvette; an English couple - Fred and Judy; and begorrah, an Irish couple - Shaun and Moira. Marriages have floundered on less. Add the ingredients of copious amounts of sparkling champagne, heightened sexual attractions, to say nothing of deep-seated cultural differences, all this makes the current Brexit negotiations seem a snip!
Reviews of Move Over, Mrs Markham
18th April to 2nd June 2018
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
If farce is your thing…
Move Over Mrs Markham, at The Mill at Sonning, until June 2
Mrs Markham has been moving over regularly since 1971, when the play was first seen in the West End. On that occasion it was directed by Ray Cooney, who wrote it with John Chapman and it comes full circle with this production.
A typical farce of its time, it concerns Mr and Mrs Markham agreeing separately to let their flat to friends for an evening. Philip Markham was played by Mark Curry with a fine grasp of comedy and slapstick. During the course of the action he is caught in what looks to be a compromising situation with his business partner, a complete misunderstanding with his wife and an attempt to explain a publishing contract to someone he wrongly thinks is an author, resulting in a young lady stripping to her undies and leaping on to his bed.
Mrs Markham is in just as much trouble, finding herself thrust into the bedroom with the interior decorator Alastair, played by Delme Thomas. Finty Williams, in the title role, gave a strong performance – utterly convincing as the muddled, bumbling woman trying to talk herself out of each situation with disastrous results.
Thomas linked up with Una Byrne as the maid Sylvie and the pair had a good comic routine going as they indulged in goosing (bottom-pinching) each other. Judy Buxton and Andrew Hall played the Markham family friends and Jeffrey Holland and Rebecca Witherington were the others involved in the complex goings-on.
Markham's company publishes children's books and when he is offered the works of Olive Harriet Smythe (Elizabeth Elvin) he is delighted. She, it appears, is jumping ship from her current publisher because they are putting out too much sex, smut and, as she puts it, "all this nudal frontages". So she offers Markham the hugely-popular Bow Wow and Little Woofer books.
Then everything gets confused as she tells him she is moving from the Isle of Dogs and to Hounds-ditch or Barking.
Markham forgets himself and 'accidentally' gooses Olive and the main actors had to work hard to stop themselves from laughing at that point.
No problem for the audience, who could laugh continuously through this slick, cheeky and very funny production.
There are reviews from the The Stage ("Precision engineered farce, rooted in its time and directed with assurance by a master of the genre [Ray Cooney]" - 4 stars), Wokingham Today ("the show is a joyous night out... you’ll be laughing from the beginning and come out with sore sides as the farce builds to an impressive climax").
For more details
see the Mill's web site at www.millatsonning.com.
Reviews in the Archive
The Hound of the Baskervilles (February 2018)
My Fair Lady (November 2017)
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)