The Village-Theater-Waterdown’s production of Ray Cooney and John Chapman’s comedy of errors, Move Over, Mrs. Markham is a show worth seeing again and again. Set in 1970s London, the play, on-stage at James United Church, features characters whose lives are as much in renovation as the stylish downtown flat which constitutes the main set. The Markham’s, their business partners, and some rather strange and unexpected guests create and confuse identities, as they try to fraternize covertly, gossip freely, and cover their trails. This two-act script is lengthy, though the cast’s perfectly-timed delivery does not leave room for the mind to wander.
Rife with clever and subtle innuendo, the dialogue is quick, witty, and highly accessible.
The cast members were comfortable using British accents, which allowed the high-stakes drama to play out organically, upholding the comedic integrity of the translation. In particular, Angela Rae, in the role of Linda Lodge, is worth noting. She knows how to manipulate her voice with great clarity while maintaining the fluidity and perceptible nonchalance required to truly bring Linda Lodge to life. Peter Bowman’s commitment to an eccentric and expressive physical vocabulary brought a refreshing change of tempo in the second act. James Luckett’s portrayals of Phillip Markham’s many faces were both convincing and riotous thanks to his unwavering clarity and ability to shift gears quickly.
The box set, designed by Jayne Reid, was both crisp and intricate. Reid’s attention to detail made for a set that was era-specific yet provided a chic, uncluttered space on the proscenium stage. Her choice to stay true to the heart of comedic setting by including multiple functional doors was championed by director Peter Lloyd and lighting designer Ken Edwards’ seamless interpretation of the space. Seika Groves’ costume design is sharp: the details were as risqué and rewarding as the script itself.
Though curse-free and as tasteful as possible, Mrs. Markham does contain rapid-fire mature jokes, and may not entertain young children as well as it does young adults and seasoned patrons. The play continues until May 14th.