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June 9, 2011 Published in Arts & Style, Other News

“Move Over, Mrs. Markham” Rollicks The LTA

James Ragby (Mr. Markham) and Shelagh Roberts (Mrs. Markham). (Photo: Shane Canfield)

By Kristi Shelloner

“Move Over, Mrs. Markham” is a laugh out loud way to spend an entertaining evening. Directed by Albert Coia, it runs at The Little Theatre of Alexandria on Wolfe Street through June 25.

James Ragby (Mr. Markham,) rules the stage with his stentorian diction and volume. His performance is delightful and powers this production. His solid conviction in his character allows Shelagh Roberts (Mrs. Markham,) Charles Boyingdon (Mr. Lodge) and Erik Harrison (Alistair Spenlow) to find their rhythm and pace until it all rolls round into a rollicking, fun farce of mistaken identities, contrived identities and a dog that doesn’t exist.

Jennifer Finch (Linda Lodge) and Shelagh Roberts (Mrs. Markham) (Photo: Shane Canfield)

Special mention should go to Katie Zitz (Sylvie) for her intriguing accent, good timing and undaunted self-respect in the midst of these zany, sex-obsessed people who have suddenly congregated in her household. Oh, if only they would all go away, she and Alistair might make a go of it!

Alistair Spenlow is an interior decorator with ambiguous sexual preferences that are never really resolved, a corollary, perhaps, to the unresolved design choices of the set. I’ll leave it to the audience to decide whether that ambiguity (is it the 1970’s or the 1870’s; is it gingham and quilts, or haute design?) comes from the script or the director’s choices. Harrison, nevertheless, brings charm and humanity to the role and keeps the farce from skating off the edge.

Reading the program is essential for this production, particularly the small glossary of British colloquialisms and cultural references that might escape Americans. The story is set in London in the 1970’s.

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