The Mill at Sonning
0118 969 8000
Sonning Eye, Reading, RG4 6TY.
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! See the reviews below.
Guys and Dolls, 23rd November to 23rd February
A timeless New York Tale of gamblers, petty crooks, nightclub singers, as well as strait-laced missionaries, will delight and beguile you. Sky Masterson is the cool doyen of gamblers. His friend, the not quite down and out Nathan Detroit, makes a bet with him that he can’t get the pious and beautiful mission-doll, Sarah Brown, to go on a date with him to disreputable Havana. The Dice are rolled as these colourful characters pursue love and luck from the heart of Times Square to the sizzling clubs of Cuba. Will Lady Luck be on their side?
Gaslight, 28th February to 13th April
Bella Manningham is convinced that she's losing her mind just as her mother did before her. And, like her Mother, she is terrified that she will end up in an asylum. She is haunted by the memory of an aunt violently murdered and sees ghostly apparitions; she hears floorboards creaking overhead; familiar objects disappear and then inexplicably reappear. While her handsome, domineering husband - Jack - is out in the evening the gaslight eerily dims and flickers. Does the terror exist in her imagination or are dark secrets living in her home? The surprise arrival of Rough, a retired detective leads to a shocking discovery that will shake her respectable Victorian marriage to its core.
Reviews of A Night in Provence
27th September to 17th November 2018
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Hilarious feelgood comedy of manners
A Night in Provence, at The Mill at Sonning, until November 17
Improbable situations make the best plots for comedies, so try this one for size.
A couple from East London rent a holiday villa in France to share with their friends, an Irish couple. No sooner do the London couple get through the front door when they are confronted with a French couple, owners of the villa, arriving for their holiday with no knowledge of the British pair. Then the Irish couple turn up and after some cursing, swearing and general argument, the three couples agree to share the villa for the next two weeks.
Well, alright, but I did say it was an improbable situation.
The play dates from 2007 when it was first produced at The Mill, but this version has been tweaked by Robin Hawdon and brought up-to-date with jokes about Brexit already. "You can leave in a civilised way, like Brexit," says Maurice, the Frenchman. "Well, alright, not like Brexit."
The London couple arrive looking for sun, sea and bonking – according to Mark Pearce as Fred – and not necessarily in that order. Pearce's performance was bright and bubbly as a husband who seldom seems to get what he wants.
Amber Edlin as Judy was very good, her expressions and studied cockney accent extremely well done. Dan March had some fine comic moments as Shaun, which he played up to full effect and Janine Leigh was his lively wife, cheeky and full of fun. Adrian Irvine and Laila Ali as the French couple did well with accents that sounded genuine and, at the beginning of the first act, some French dialogue.
Apart from a couple of instances when actors addressed colleagues with the wrong names, this was a flawless first night performance.
So plenty of laughter, some jokey digs at Britain's present parlous situation, skinny-dipping in the pool, with couples changing partners for this little game and a bit of adultery on the side between Shaun and his friend Fred's wife, no less. What's not to laugh about?
All good fun, very well acted and directed with flair by Keith Myers – and a very good French villa set design. The latter was acknowledged at curtain call when actor March stepped forward to praise designer Terry Parsons for both his set and 50 years 'in the business' and The Mill's artistic director Sally Hughes presented him with a tasty looking '50th' cake.
There are reviews from The Stage ("a frothy, amusing tale to send you out of the theatre feeling good... the casting is nothing short of brilliant"), the Maidenhead Advertiser ("a fast-paced romp that is never less than very funny, sometimes a little bittersweet and boasts some genuine laugh-out-loud moments of comic genius and timing... another surefire hit from the Mill at Sonning") and Wokingham Today ("6 talented actors clearly having a fantastic time... a fun evening out").
For more details
see the Mill's web site at www.millatsonning.com.
Reviews in the Archive
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)