Henley Standard Property
HOME

Date:

Order your copy Advertise with us! HENLEY PAGES
Delivering the news from Henley on Thames and South Oxfordshire for over 100 years
  News     Sport    Celebrity   What's On Regulars Community Info Henley Standard TV Lifestyle Property Jobs Classifieds Gallery Trade
                               Follow us    Follow us    Newsfeed Search the Henley Standard  
Review: Mill gets dose of Italian warmth
Published 31/03/14



THE sun-drenched landscape of northern Italy is the setting for Enchanted April, a charming and thoroughly enchanting romcom currently playing at the Mill at Sonning.

Lured by the promise of wisteria and sunshine after the grey of a rain-lashed, post-war London, four genteel ladies answer an advert to rent a medieval castle overlooking the shores of the Mediterranean for a month.

Previously unknown to each other, the quartet are a disparate group, each with their own personal quirks and reasons to escape the strictures and demons in their everyday lives.

The ‘romcom’ description probably does this play something of a disservice, giving the impression that it’s just light-headed, kissy-kissy fluff — which it is not. Below the surface are four women, two in unsatisfactory marriages, another hemmed in by the expectations of aristocratic parents and a 60-something widow who just seems dissatisfied with her lot.

Matthew Barber’s play, adapted from Elizabeth Von Arnim’s 1922 novel, sparkles with enthusiasm and glee. Deftly directed by Sally Hughes, it depicts how initial clashes in personality and petty selfishness gradually soften under the magic of the women’s surroundings. This, together with the arrival of the castle’s owner and a couple of husbands, ensures a feelgood happy ending, with much laughter — after a few twists along the way.

The austere setting of drab London in the first act contrasts so strongly with the sunbathed, honey-coloured castle walls of the second act that we in the audience could well have been transported to Italy during the interval.

Fine performances were delivered throughout — Sarah Edwardson as the high-spirited but bored solicitor’s wife Lottie, Francesca Bailey, the luminous and languid Lady Caroline Bramley, Hildegard Neil, an acid-tongued and condescending Mrs Graves. And Melanie Gutteridge’s buttoned-up Rose Arnott positively blossomed, throwing off her “disappointed Madonna” image to one of happy optimism.

But it was the eye-rolling, arm-waving and general perplexity of Anna-Maria Everett’s Italian-speaking cook Costanza that almost stole the show.

A beguiling play that delivered far more than I was actually expecting.

* Continues to May 17.

Enchanted April

Mill at Sonning

Thursday, March 20

Carol Evans


PUBLISHED 31/03/14



 
MOST POPULAR
Heroes welcome
Teenager goes on rampage in stolen forklift
Hospice charity ball in memory of parents
The Vintage Look finds new home
Fish & chip shop shut by microwave fire
Raiders smash through community hall wall
TV’s toughest quizmasters come face to face
Residents told 'keep recycling clear'
 
 
LATEST LIFESTYLE HEADLINES
Embark on a journey of lifelong learning
Nursery offers warm, secure environment
High achievers and much more
‘This is an amazing school, I love it here’
Start of term’s an exciting time here
You’ll be floored by our level of service
Absolutely fabulous that Jennifer visited us
Teaming up to celebrate being a woman...
Showcasing UK’s food heroes
Quality flowers for all occasions
Thanking the community for their support
Excitement, flair and a meal to savour
Latest Video View more from   Henley Standard TV
ADVERTISE WITH US
LATEST NEWS HEADLINES
I want 'living' wall to fight air pollution
Fifth gold but town loses regional bloom title
Café undergoes £30,000 makeover
Reception to mark law firm's expansion
Rowers meet crowds at welcome home parade
Top Videos
 
Most Popular
 
 
 
 
Higgs Group
HIGGS GROUP
Tel: 01491 419400
www.higgsgroup.co.uk
HENLEY PAGES
Tel: 01491 419419
www.henleypages.com
HIGGS PRINTING & DESIGN
Tel: 01491 149429
www.higgsprinitng.co.uk
HIGGS OFFICE SUPPLIES
Tel: 01491 419499
www.higgsofficesupplies.co.uk
HENLEY LIFE MAGAZINE
Tel: 01491 419449
www.henleylife.co.uk
  HIGGS GROUP, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AD. Telephone (01491) 419400  
© Higgs & Co (Printing) Limited 2012  |  Registered in England number 1418717