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The Mill at Sonning - Two Into One

5th August to 9th October 2021

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Classic Cooney farce a pleaser at The Mill

If you like a good farce, one written by Ray Cooney is about as good as you can get. In the programme notes for this one the author claims it is his all-time favourite.

It certainly has all the ingredients of a classic. A Tory junior minister planning an afternoon of adultery with the PM’s secretary in a Westminster hotel is the starting point. The minister recruits his hapless PPS George Pigden to book an additional room in the hotel where he is staying with his wife. The bumbling Pigden gets into a terrible mess, forgetting the false name he is to adopt and finishes up calling himself Noel Christmas. When asked later if his name is George or Noel, he replies that it is George and there is no L in George.

Typical farce. The jokes are not much better than that throughout but the humour, as is usual, comes from the action on stage. During the two bedroom scenes I counted six doors on the set and actors were going in and out with a precision you wouldn’t believe. Steven Pinder gave a strong performance as the PPS, his comic timing and stage craft spot on. Considering he had to try and avoid seduction by the minister’s wife and by a young man mistakenly thought to be gay, keep the wife away from the girlfriend and avoid the suspicions of the hotel manager, he did brilliantly. Pinder’s facial expressions, movement and even a little wild dance near the end, were hilarious. Mark Curry as the minister showed a man trying to extricate himself from his sins and getting deeper and deeper into trouble. Carole Royle played the confused wife with deadpan accuracy. Daisy Steele was a lively girlfriend, Delme Thomas was effective as a stroppy waiter on the make and there were good cameo performances from Olivia Forrest as a receptionist and Felicity Duncan as a Labour MP introducing a bill about pornography in the Commons. Her best line was ‘in pornography, everybody takes a position’.

Harry Gostelow played the hotel manager as a stiff and starchy character rightly mistrusting all that was going on in his hotel. Connor Hughes was the misunderstood husband of the minister’s girlfriend, injured in a skiing accident.

And where else but in farce could you laugh out loud at an injured man on crutches being knocked to the floor three times? The cast sailed through it all skilfully, including some business with a loose cord from a telephone receiver that wasn’t, I suspect, in the script or rehearsals.


There is a review from Wokingham Today ("a joy to watch... a great night out").