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Move Over Mrs. Markham

Review by Carol Little

The production of Move Over Mrs. Markham, performed by the Jubilee Players (Sue Urquhart, Terry Foster, Elaine Chessman, Sandra Sheridan, Dale Harrington, Thane Clarke, Karen Slater, Gordon Cobb, Angela Brighty), written by Ray Cooney and John Chapman, and directed by Corin McFadden, was at the Jubilee Theatre in Summerside.

The play is set in the posh apartment of contemporary couple Joanna Markham (Urquhart) and Philip Markham (Harrington) on New Year’s Eve. Philip is a workaholic, employed by playboy Henry Lodge (Clarke) at a publishing house, with his office located below his apartment.

Move Over Mrs. Markham is a lighthearted play based on sexual humour and misunderstandings resulting from a web of attempted extra marital affairs involving four couples. The trouble begins with Mr. and Mrs. Markham scheduled to go out for dinner that evening, leaving their apartment seemingly available…

Linda Lodge (Sheridan), wife of Henry Lodge, confides in Joanna that she is toying with the intention of taking her, until now, harmless phone affair with the odd Walter Pangborne (Cobb), to the next level and wants to use Joanna and Philip’s apartment for the illicit rendezvous.

Meanwhile, Henry Lodge talks Philip into loaning him the apartment for his covert physical encounter with a young telephone operator, Miss Wilkinson (Brighty).

In addition to husband and wife (the Lodges) trying to plan secret affairs at the Markham’s apartment, Sylvie Hauser (Chessman), the Markham’s maid, is planning a furtive meeting with the interior decorator, Alastair Spenlow (Foster), whom the Markham’s initially assume is gay, in the same apartment on the same evening.

To complicate matters further, Philip finds part of a love note written to Linda from Walter and mistakenly suspects Joanna of having an affair with their flamboyant interior decorator, prompting a near sexual escapade between Joanna and Alastair that is continually thwarted by interruptions by the other would-be couples arriving unexpectedly.

It is a comedy of errors as each couple tries to meet in secret, that gets even more chaotic when a top children’s author drops in unexpectedly at the Markham’s to sign a major book deal with Henry Lodge and Philip Markham. Olive Harriet Smythe (Slater) is looking for a new publisher because her former publisher had begun to print books that were too racy, in her opinion, to be printed alongside her children’s “Bow Wow” line of books. The problem is that Joanna Markham and Alastair Spenlow happen to be at home in their night clothes when Smythe arrives, and so Alastair is mistaken for Philip, and they must keep up the charade to conceal the truth from Smythe in hopes that she will sign with their company.

With only a short run so far, the audience response to the deceptive comedy of secrets and lies Move Over Mrs. Markham has been so overwhelmingly positive that another performance has been added in September.

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