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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

The Mill at Sonning

Box office

0118 969 8000

Sonning Eye, Reading, RG4 6TY.


Reviews of Barefoot in the Park

30th June to 20th August 2022

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Neil Simon winner at Sonning

First performed on Broadway in 1963 with Robert Redford playing the lead, Neil Simon’s romantic comedy was successful from the start. Redford was joined by Jane Fonda for the film version and the play has been performed countless times on stages around the world.

This was a strong production at Sonning, directed sympathetically by Robin Herford. Set in very different times to today’s turmoil, the play follows a young couple, just married, moving into their first apartment. Many will recognise, perhaps remember and understand the outwardly cheerful attitude of Johnny Labey as Paul and Hannah Pauley as his wife Corrie as they make the best of a small, cramped apartment, six floors up with no lift and no furniture having arrived.

Yet… those six flights of stairs provided a running source of humour throughout and at one point Rachel Fielding, as Corrie’s mother, stumbles in after climbing the stairs to say it feels like she’s just died and gone to heaven. And had to climb up there.

There is much speculation too about who lives in the apartments on the way up. Particularly one with several empty tuna cans left outside every morning. Who lives there?, Corrie wonders. ‘A big cat with a tin opener?’ Paul speculates.

Certainly not as light and frivolous as at first glance, this is a very funny play, exceptionally well acted by Labey as the quiet, rather formal young lawyer just starting his career. Pauley was most impressive as Corrie, her bright, bubbly personality brought out skilfully all through the play. Rachel Fielding had fun with the doting mother and mother-in-law part of Mrs Banks and James Simmons was the believable charming rogue Victor Velasco. No less deserving of praise was Oliver Stanley in a neat little cameo role as a telephone engineer.

He made the most of his two brief appearances. The British actors – the entire cast apart from Pauley – had convincing American accents. So too did Ms Pauley, but having been raised in Pittsburgh that was hardly surprising.


There are reviews from Broadway World ("the Mill delivers a fun evening that's so much more than this play" - ★★★), The Stage ("the perfect play for a venue like the Mill at Sonning" - ★★★), ReviewsGate ("a good night out by any standards... the audience leaves having laughed a lot and feeling it has been an evening well spent" - ★★★★), The Reviews Hub ("if you are looking for a lighthearted evening out and you have a stronger stomach for ‘of its time’ humour then this is the play for you" - ★★★), Theatre Cat ("quite wonderfully dated, not to say nostalgic... there is possibly the best hysterically irrational lovers’ tiff since Private Lives" - ★★), Pocket Size Theatre ("a first-class production... very well acted throughout" - ★★★★), The Live Review ("the show is well acted with a comedic cast that are extremely talented").

For more details

see the Mill's web site at

Reviews in the Archive

Busman's Honeymoon (April 2022)
The House on Cold Hill (February 2022)
Top Hat (October 2021)
Two Into One (August 2021)
Relatively Speaking (February 2020)
Singin' in the Rain (November 2019)
Run for Your Wife (October 2019)
Private Lives (June 2019)
Guys and Dolls (November 2018)
A Night in Provence (September 2018)
Ten Times Table (August 2018)
The Unexpected Guest (June 2018)
Move Over, Mrs Markham (April 2018)
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)