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It's Her Turn Now | The Mill at Sonning

It’s Her Turn Now is a gender bending adaptation by Michael J Barfoot, based on Ray Cooney’s play Out of Order. Directed by David Warwick, the script and characters have been flawlessly altered in a way that makes this adaptation seem natural. The story premise has Mrs. Wiley trying to have a secret affair with John Worthington, but upon discovering a dead body in their room, their plans (and lives) are thrown into utter chaos. By involving a number of other characters to aid them, it becomes a hilarious play.

This show is farce at its finest and uses prominent techniques from this style including a lot of hilarious physical comedy, exaggerated reactions, the cheeky dropping and pulling down of pants and a window frame that won’t stay open. The window is used frequently and results in a particularly fine closing of act one and becoming its own character (hilariously getting a moment of appreciation at curtain call.) The dialogue is witty and hilarious, making a number of puns and political jokes that has the audience chuckling throughout. Despite being written over 30 years ago, a fair portion of these jokes still hold, and with the inclusion of a few more current day references added in this adaptation, it helps to make the comedy accessible for everyone. 

The show is an intentionally rather confusing one with trying to keep track of the several fake storylines, intertwining and constantly changing relationships and names, on top of the core characters of a rather large cast. However due to the excellent writing from Ray Cooney, and a steady pacing, we’re able to follow these through with ease (but pay attention, for something will change every few minutes). This chaos results in non-stop laughter and is a delightful and entertaining watch. 

The cast are brilliant, with a variety of characters. From the dazzled Mrs. Willey (Elizabeth Elvin), a firm hotel manager (Harry Gostelow), dramatic Tracey Worthington (Michelle Morris), dazed Mr. Willey (Eric Carte) and the more grounded John Worthington (Raphael Bar). The show relies heavily on the large cast, and is ultimately an ensemble piece, with everyone carrying the show. That being said Felicity Duncan as the poor ‘Georgia Pigden’ manages to particularly shine, being one of the other characters with a more layered personality. We learn of her life outside of the events of the show, and she has a rather formed moral compass. Two other stand out performances were by James Holmes as the hotel waiter, who steals every scene that he is in, and Jules Brown as Nurse Foster. Despite having the smallest role, and appearing rather late in the show, he arrives when the show has built up to a peak commotion point, and becomes a hilarious addition. 

The only issue I had with the show was its indecisiveness of the time period. Whilst the story, nature and lack of actual technological devices make the piece feel timeless, the infrequent dialogue that tries to use more modern terms tries to root the play in a present day. With a single appearance of a dead iPhone at the start of the show, and talk of using contactless payment, the timeless charm of the piece is sacrificed slightly, and could have done without. 

Set design comes from Alex Marker and the play is set in a hotel suite, providing us with a rather lush interior, with a beautifully designed skyline (and outline of the Big Ben) through the window. The use of multiple doors, leading to a bedroom, cupboard and exit, and massive window helps keeps the story and characters moving and revolving in and out of the story without becoming a distraction. Another clever addition is being able to see another room through the door frame, particularly when it’s later damaged.

The show is an entertaining watch, and set at the Mill Theatre, Sonning. The Mill Theatre is one of my favourite theatres, located on Sonning Island, Reading, surrounded by nature, a lake and a working water wheel. The ticket includes a two-course meal at the theatre’s restaurant, with serves delicious British classics, which helps elevate the entire theatre experience. It's Her Turn Now runs until 18th November, for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets | Photography by Andreas Lambis


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