Move Over Mrs Markham, at Riverlea Theatre, Hamilton. Reviewed by Geoff Lewis
Comedy is probably the hardest genre in theatre to get right. Keeping the audience laughing, and doing that through every performance, is no small feat. This takes a clever script and a well-rehearsed cast.
So it was a pleasure to experience Playbox theatre's opening performance of Move Over Mrs Markham, directed by Sean Dwyer.
Move Over is a typical 1970s-era British bedroom farce. A hilarious lampoon of sexual mores and a catastrophe of mistaken identities.
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There are the caricatures - Markham, the straight-laced businessman played by Nicolas Wells, and his sports-jacketed playboy business partner Henry Lodge, played by Conor Maxwell - both well known in Hamilton theatre, the pampered but frustrated housewife, Joanna Markham, played with enthusiasm by Patricia Wichman, and the various love interests all in competition to use the big bed in Markham's apartment.
Then there's the camp interior decorator Spenlow, played by Dwyer himself.
The production is not new to Dwyer, who first took part in it in South Africa nearly 40 years ago and has since been involved in other stagings of the same performance, most recently in Auckland in 2016.
So, he was well aware of what he needs from the cast and succeeds on all fronts - while having heaps of fun doing it.
It's the little touches of slapstick - Lodge scrambling his business partner's pockets for the key of the bedroom door and a tug of war over a hooker's brassiere, which launch an entertaining performance into the stratosphere of hysterics.
In all, an enjoyable evening's entertainment.
Based on a book by John Chapman, directed by Sean Dwyer with production by Jason Wing, Move Over Mrs Markham runs until June 26, 7.30pm, matinee Sunday, June 20 at 2pm. Riverlea Theatre, 83 Riverlea Rd, Hillcrest, Hamilton. Tickets at: www.iticket.co.nz.