Move Over Mrs Markham (1998)
Venue : Redditch Palace Theatre
Date : May 1998
Genre : Farce
Assistant Stage Manager
Moved over a fab farce
I will be the first person to admit that farces leave me wondering why on earth people pay good money to see them.
But I will also be the first to admit that Move Over Mrs Markham, at the Palace Theatre, proved me very wrong.
Wythall Theatre Company pulled out all the stops for this hilarious performance of Ray Cooney and John Chapman's play.
The acting was great, the sets were imaginative and well-designed and the direction was good in this treat of a show.
In tradition of all the best farces, the plot is complex. Joanna and Philip Markham are a staid, happily married couple. Mrs Markham agrees to let her friend Linda Lodge use their flat for the eventing for an illicit rendezvous with her lover.
Unbeknown to them, Mr Markham has agreed to let Linda's husband Henry use the flat for a meeting with his lover. In the mantime, the interior decorator is planning a saucy evening with the Markham's au-pair and the scene is naturally set for chaos with a series of misunderstandings, mayhem and madness.
All the cast members turned out strong performances with Paul Hughes stealing the show brilliantly as camp decorator Alistair Spenlow, all exaggerated facial expressions and limp wrists.
Angela Smith was on top form as Joanna Markham, as were Mike Beamish, Adam Lee and Claudette Gauthier.
Sarah Cross, Unknown, 1988
A Spot On Production
Although this Ray Cooney-John Chapman farce slows up - only briefly - in the second act, it is no fault of Ted Rodgers' excellent production.
A spirited company is in fine form as it explores the high-speed possibilities of dolly birds, misunderstandings and frustrated infidelities. The timing is spot-on, the abundant dialogue is delivered with the requisite urgent desperation, and the many flurries of "business" are accomplished with aplomb.
Paul Hughes is a splendidly over-the top interior designer of joyous gesture and lunatic bravado - but there is just as much pleasure in the measured impeccability and blank surprise of Peter Round (Walter).
This is a company without a weak link, with Mike Beamish (Philip) providing one of many highlights when ensnared by a bra through a slatted door.
The production fully lives up to the group's admirable reputation. It runs until Saturday.
John Slim, Birmingham Evening Mail, 11 May 1988