“Move Over Mrs Markham” by The Bonington Players
Bonington Theatre, Arnold.
Bonington Theatre, Arnold.
Written by the King of Farce, Ray Cooney and John Chapman, this wonderful farce is set in a top floor London flat, belonging to Philip and Joanna Markham. The flat has been renovated, and so has been largely empty.
Philip is a publisher of children’s books, and he shares an office with his partner, Henry Lodge, on the ground floor. Philip agrees to let Henry borrow his apartment for the evening to “entertain” his latest girlfriend, Miss Wilkinson.
At the same time, Joanna Markham is persuaded by Linda Lodge to let her borrow the apartment, so she can entertain her lover, Walter. What nobody knows is that the interior designer, Arthur Spenlow, who had been decorating the apartment for the past three months has decided that this was the night he and the au pair girl, Sylvie, would try out the new oval bed!
When all three sets of people converge on the apartment, expecting to find it empty, chaos and confusion ensue. And that is only added to when prudish writer, Olive Harriet Smythe pops by looking for a new publisher.
This is a proper five door farce with plenty opening of doors. The set is really plush with a nice separation between the bedroom and the living area, both vibrantly decorated.
A lot of work has gone into the design of the set as well because the area behind the doors and the window are all three dimensional, giving even more depth to the set.
The secret to a good farce is timing, and a lot of hard work, and both of these attributes are in abundance. You cane really tell that a great deal of hard work has been put in by everyone in this production.
Act two is do fast paced and with the addition of the other characters, plus most of them all swapping names and roles, it can send your head dizzy, but it's such a clever script that it makes watching the action an absolute joy to take in.A wonderful job of directing by Howard Whitehurst.
Every single one of this cast is so hard working and even through all of the on stage melee, you just know that the actors have mastered that split second timing.
Anna Hodkin (Joanna Markham), Jonathan Greaves (Alistair Spenlow), Lauren Hodkin (Sylvie), Lindsey Parr (Linda Lodge), Wayne Hill (Philip Markham), Eddie Janusczcyk (Henry Lodge), Philip Chapman (Walter Pangbourne), Julia Walters (Olive Harriet Smythe) and Helen Holbrook (Miss Wilkinson) interact with each other so smoothly. There are no singular performances that stick out over any other which just goes to show what a great cast this is.
Also doing a fantastic job is the sound and light designer, David Goatham, the sound operated by Zoe Lander, Making sure everything is where it should be, when it should be there in this fast paced production is the stage manager, Tony Tomlinson.
It's a very saucy farce with a barrel load of laughs and some excellent performances which is really worth shelling out for.
“Move Over Mrs Markham” is at Bonington Theatre until Saturday 21 October 2017.