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Little Theatre of Alexandria Move Over, Mrs. Markham

By • Jun 10th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Move Over, Mrs. Markham by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
Through June 25th
2:35 with one intermission
$17-$20
Reviewed June 8th, 2011

Move Over, Mrs. Markham is a farce by Ray Cooney and John Chapman. The action takes place in the flat of Mr. and Mrs. Markham in the early 1970s. The Markhams (James Raby and Shelagh Roberts) are having the flat redesigned by interior decorator Alistair Spenlow (Erik Harrison), who is involved with a relationship with the Markham’s au pair, Sylvie (Katie Zitz). The Markhams are going out for the evening, so Mrs. Markham’s friend Linda Lodge (Jennifer Finch) has arranged to use the flat to meet with her lover Walter (Peter Alden Hyde). Unfortunately, Mr. Markham’s friend Henry Lodge (Charles Boyington) has also arranged to use the flat that evening to meet with his lover Miss Wilkinson (Sizanne Behsudi). Then best-selling, conservative, dog-loving author Olive Harriet Smythe (Billie Williams) arrives.

This unlikely set of circumstances seemed quite likely to be possible as they unfolded. Each couple’s relationship was realistic, from the Lodge’s boredom of 14 years of marriage, to the devotion and frustration of the Markham’s 15 years of marriage. While the humor never built to a sustained crescendo throughout an entire scene, the laughs generated by the situations of mistaken and assumed identities were real and repeated. Director Albert Coia has built an entertaining evening exploring the foibles of these characters. There is no deep meaning anywhere in Move Over, Mrs. Markham, and that’s ok.

Dan Remmers’ set was perfect, allowing many doors and rooms for the characters to use to hide and seek. Jean Schlichting and Kit Sibley’s costumes were period-appropriate, although I assume credit for Miss Wilkinson’s wrap should go to the prop designers Rebecca and John Johnson.

Every once in a while, you should let yourself go out and enjoy a show without any deeper meaning. The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s Move Over, Mrs. Markham is your opportunity to do that.

Director’s Notes

Welcome to the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s Move Over, Mrs. Markham. Sit back, relax and enjoy this typical British farce. We hope to have you rolling in the aisles and able to leave your cares and troubles outside the theater for a couple of hours. We make no attempt to make great statements about the vagaries of life and the human condition; we simply wish to entertain you.

In theater, a farce is comedy that aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely and improbable situations, mistaken identity, and verbal humor of varying degrees of sophistication. It usually includes sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually, but not always, increases as the play progresses. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances.

In general farce is highly tolerant of transgressive behavior and tends to depict human beings as vain, irrational, neurotic, and prone to automatic behavior. The various characters may get away with what they have been trying to hide at all costs, even though it may be “naughty.”

Mr. Cooney and Mr. Chapman have captured all of these requirements in Mrs. Markham. Three couples intent on clandestine relationships disrupting the normally placid upper-middle-class existence of a fourth is the basic structure of the play. Add a totally disconnected but vitally important character, and you have chaos and mayhem. Entrances and exits almost overlap, but not quite.

To quote Mr. Cooney himself, “Comedy is frequently about an eccentric person in an everyday situation, whereas farce usually involves ordinary people attempting to deal with an eccentric situation. It is easy to underestimate a good farce, because the language appears mundane and ordinary. They are not intellectualizing on their predicaments. They are dealing with them-and usually under pressure.” Thank you, Mr. Cooney; that’s exactly what the cast and crew and I intend to bring to you, our audience.

We’ve had a great deal of amusement and laughter creating this production of the play and hope you enjoy the result of our endeavors.

Albert Coia
Director

Photo Gallery

Charles Boyington (Henry Lodge) and James Raby (Philip Markham) Erik Harrison (Alistair Spenlow) and Katie Zitz (Sylvie)
Charles Boyington (Henry Lodge) and James Raby (Philip Markham)
Erik Harrison (Alistair Spenlow) and Katie Zitz (Sylvie)
Shelagh Roberts (Joanna Markham) and Erik Harrison (Alistair Spenlow)
Shelagh Roberts (Joanna Markham) and Erik Harrison (Alistair Spenlow)

Photos by Shane Canfield

Cast

  • Joanna Markham: Shelagh Roberts
  • Alistair Spenlow: Erik Harrison
  • Sylvie: Katie Zitz
  • Linda Lodge: Jennifer Finch
  • Philip Markham: James Baby
  • Henry Lodge: Charles Boyington
  • Walter Pangbourne: Peter Alden Hyde
  • Olive Harriet Smythe: Billie Williams
  • Miss Wilkinson: Suzanne Behsudi

Crew

  • Producers: Margaret Evans-Joyce, Carolyn Winters
  • Assistant Producers: Peter Alden Hyde, Liz Sabin
  • Director: Albert Coia
  • Assistant to the Director: Eddie Page
  • Stage Managers: Jamie Blake, Leighann Behrens
  • Set Design: Dan Remmers
  • Lighting Design: Liz Owens, Nancy Owens
  • Costume Design and Construction: Jean Schlicting, Kit Sibley
  • Sound Design: Alan Wray
  • Assisted by: DaveCorreia, Will Gregg, Anna Hawkins, Bill Rinehuls, Art Snow
  • Set Construction: Chris Feldman
  • Assisted by: Ed Broyles, Mikie Davidson, Tjaarda Storm Van Leeuwen, Axhon Ruiz, Nick Skidmore
  • Set Painting: Mary Hutzler
  • Assisted by: Luana Bossolo, Konstantin Gojnycz, Roland Gomez, Bobbie Herbst, Jim Hutzler, Rebecca Johnson, Grace Machanic, Carole Steele
  • Set Decoration: Nancyanne Burton, Jean and Alan Stuhl
  • Master Electrician: Eileen Doherty
  • Assisted by: Jim Hartz, Rachel Lau, Pam Leonowich, Mike O’Connor, Doug Olmsted, Marg Soroos
  • Property Designers: Rebecca and John Johnson
  • Assisted by: Betty Dolan, Patty Greksouk, Carlyn Lightfoot, Susie Poole, Leslie Reed
  • Wardrobe: Barbara Helsing, Margaret Snow
  • Makeup and Hair: Howard Vincent Kurtz
  • Rigging: Russell Wyland
  • Photographer: Shane Canfield
  • Audition Table: Bobbie Herbst, Ann Hopewell, Terry Faisal, Maureen Rohn, Margaret Snow
  • Double Tech Dinner: Larry Grey
  • Opening Night Party: Frank Shutts
  • Assisted by Robert Kraus, Virginia Lacey

Disclaimer: Little Theatre of Alexandria provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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