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A side-splitting rendition of ‘Move Over Mrs Markham’ (originally by Ray Cooney and John Chapman) was directed by Ewan Jackman – an outrageously hilarious production to say the least. This year St Andrews College celebrates its 70th anniversary of the Drama Society, and whilst the shoes to fill were immensely huge, cast, crew and director all did an outstanding job of putting on a production that you can’t help but rave about.
‘Move Over Mrs Markham’ is a brilliant comedy set in the 1970s that explores the hilarious relationship dynamics of the Markham household, their friends and staff – scandal, romance and bedroom antics made amusing through awkward encounters and ‘perfect’ timing. The construction crew did an amazing job at setting up the scene, with the main focus on the drawing room, as well as the bedroom. Act one begins in the drawing room with Mrs Markham (played by Charlotte MacDonald) and Alistair Spenlow (Charlie Sayers), the man with an eye for design. The seemingly ordinary life of the Markham’s is turned upside down when their friend Linda Lodge (Darcy Neale) asks to use their house for the evening to meet her lover. The first act brilliantly depicts a sense of chaos; characters in and out of the drawing room, different story lines of infidelity and deceit being established early on. Ideals of love and marriage are comically shattered as all characters make plans to either cheat or use the Markham’s house for romantic rendezvous. A huge amount of credit needs to be given to first time DramaSoc cast member Daniel McSweeny who perfectly captured the insecurity of man in the most dramatic and uproarious way. Further, Charlie Sayers portrayal of the flamboyant and extremely sexual designer produced constant uncontrollable laughs from the audience.
The second act sees the pinnacle of disorder in a farcical way – moments of intimacy awkwardly interrupted, misunderstanding and miscommunication adding to the utter confusion and chaos. It is in this act where we meet the rest of the cast, including the more physical character of Walter Pangbourne (Morris Fredriksson) who kept the audience chuckling with his awkward movements and comments. Add to the mix a stop in from a client, a philandering husband and an overzealous maid and you have a recipe for hilarity.
With it being the 70th anniversary of DramaSoc, director Ewan Jackman took a chance to reflect on this significance saying “The fact that it is the 70th anniversary of DramSoc and it’s productions is very special to me personally. I have had many a family members walk the halls of St Andrew’s, many of whom dabbled in the thespian lifestyle. So to be a part of DramSoc is an honour, but especially this year to pay homage to not only my ancestors but also to all Androvians who’ve unlocked their inner ‘thesp’”. His adaptation of the script for a more modern audience needs to be credited to his amazing ability to lead and consider what portrays best for his audience.
A big part of DramaSoc is performing in front of your peers, something that actor Darcy Neale has commented on, saying “holding a show at college guarantees that in every audience, at least one of your friends will be attending… and that’s always been daunting for me. Channelling this anxiety into enthusiasm and energy to perform is the best response because at the end of the day, it’s a college play and not all that serious. It’s a moment to share laughter, creativity and for students to come together to support their peers.” And it is this last sentence from Darcy that I feel sums up what DramaSoc means not only to cast and crew, but to the rest of the college.
The strength in this play lies in the sharp dialogue and the charisma and chemistry of the cast. The double entendres ensure the audience is constantly engaged and the farcical and absurd nature of the plot are made perfectly hilarious through a strong employment of physical comedy. The amazing cast and their interpretation of their roles, along with guidance from the director make it a standout in St Andrew’s DramaSoc history.