Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
It may have been one of the most blustery nights this winter with snow piling up all around, but that didn’t stop Clio Cast & Crew’s faithful audience from plowing their way into Theatre 57 for the opening night of the hilarious comedy, Move Over, Mrs. Markham. Indeed, the house staff even leaped to the rescue to extract a car stuck in a snow bank out front so its owner could come in and enjoy the show!
It was all worth it as this is a very funny, even hysterical show! Playwrights Ray Cooney and John Chapman deliver a script rife with mix-ups and impending mayhem all contained in what should have been an innocent evening among friends. We’ll tell you a little bit of the plot, but we don’t want to give away all the fun.
The play is set in a lush English upper flat above a publishing house owned by JoAnna Markham (Jessica Eldredge) and her husband Philip (Shane Wachowicz). Philip is part owner of the publishing house which seems to specialize in children’s books and animal stories. This will be come important later.
Knowing that the Markhams are slated to attend a dinner party, Linda Lodge (Pam Beauchamp), the wife of Henry Lodge (Connor Klee), Philip’s partner, pleads with JoAnna to use the apartment for a tryst while they are out. It seems that Henry is a bit of a player and she is looking to even the score.
Meanwhile, the in-house decorator, Allistair Spenlow (Christopher Dinnan) has something going with the Markhams’ live in au pair, Sylvie (Rebecca Norris) and they too are planning to “use” the “empty” house that evening.
Just to further complicate the plot, Henry asks Philip if he can use the “empty” flat to meet his newest challenge, Miss Wilkinson (Karen Fenech). Are you beginning to sense a pattern here?
Nearly Shakespearean in the use of comedic mix-ups and mistaken identity, the plot once again fragments with the entrance of Linda’s foppish dandy, Walter Pangbourne (Carl Frost) followed closely by author Olive Harriet Smythe (Sandra Turner). She has arrived to sign her famous and extensive line of doggie books with the publishing house.
This cast, directed by William Kircher, is exceptionally strong and remarkably adept at comic timing. Eldredge anchors the fun with her irresistable laugh and her innocent, if rambunctious, reactions to all the chaos that ensues. She is ably abetted by Dinnan with his winsome but wily way of ingratiating himself with almost everyone.
Wachowicz’ Mr. Markham seems the most strait-laced of the bunch but manages to engender plenty of laughs before he’s finished, while Beauchamp’s Linda continues to trumpet her high decibel complaints about Henry. Her sudden impersonation of a German maid is a hoot!
We suspect the title takes its cue from the activity surrounding the Markham’s oval bed as there is a bit of turnover there! It’s all in good fun, and the laughs never stopped Friday. Even Turner’s stuffy dog-loving writer got involved in the confusion and all with a straight face.
Go see this show. It’s exceptionally well done, funny, nicely staged and well worth the trip to Clio!
Move Over, Mrs. Markham continues through February 18th at Theatre 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd, Clio, MI. For information and tickets contact the box office at 810-687-2588 or online at http://www.cliocastandcrew.com