It's Her Turn Now
Rating: ★★★
Venue: The Mill at Sonning 
Cast: Raphael Bar, Jules Brown, Eric Carte, Felicity Duncan, Elizabeth Elvin, Harry Gostelow, James Holmes, Michelle Morris and Charlie Parker-Swift 

OUT OF ORDER is Ray Cooney’s classic farce about MPs behaving badly. Here it has been turned on its head and adapted so that it is female MPs behaving badly. When Rebecca Willey MP, a government Junior Minister, plans to spend the evening with John Worthington, special advisor to the opposition, they check into a hotel for their naughty affair. Except things start to go disastrously wrong! 

On Saturday, I had the absolute pleasure of attending The Mill At Sonning restaurant and theatre, to review their current production of It’s Her Turn Now. The Mill At Sonning, a former flour mill nestled on the bank of the Thames, is owned and managed by Sally Hughes. It was one of the last wheel-driven mills on the Thames when it closed in 1969, and remained untouched until Sally’s parents and uncle bought it in 1977 and converted it into a theatre and restaurant, which then opened in 1982. 

With magnificent views over the River Thames, The Mill At Sonning is the most beautiful theatre I have ever been to, although the working waterwheel on display in the bar is not just a feature to marvel at; since 2005, it has been the centre of the first hydroelectric scheme to be powered by the River Thames. The mill produces around 162,000 units of electricity per year, which covers the running of the entire building and leaving a large amount of excess which is passed onto the National Grid for sale.

The Mill At Sonning is predominantly a producing house, proudly hand crafting every element of the experience on site, from each ingredient that makes up the varied menu, to every button carefully stitched into each costume. Every single person working at the venue is involved in curating a very special experience. We were served by two of the wonderful, attentive restaurant staff, Daisy and Madison, who went above and beyond, especially when handling dietary requirements and allergies. For a grade II listed building, I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible my experience was. Click here for my full accessibility review on Euan’s Guide.

It’s Her Turn Now is a rewritten gender swapped version of Out Of Order - by Ray Cooney - with a script just as ingenious as it’s title. The original play, formerly named Who’s Wife Is It Anyway?, last played on a UK tour in 2017. The script was timeless, and extremely clever in its hilarity, although I must say that I think the line ‘I’m coming out of the cupboard’ was something of a missed opportunity!

Felicity Duncan’s performance of a confused, bewildered secretary trying to take initiative when she has absolutely no idea what’s going on and is used to being told exactly what to do, will have you in stitches. Charlie Parker-Swift’s role in the show also deserves some high praise, portrayal of a dead body live on stage is no mean feat! The whole thing was a bit chaotic to watch, which while mostly
working well, there were some occasions on which as an audience member, I felt a little too stressed and overwhelmed by the action on stage. This show is perfect for anyone who’s a fan of the play Noises Off, or any of the ‘Goes Wrong’ Shows.

I think the set design might be my favourite element of this production. It plays such an integral part in the storyline that it almost encompasses a character of it’s own. The design was flawless, with some stunning attention to detail. I loved the decision to extend the set out the back slightly meaning that from all angles of the theatre it really looked like there was a corridor of other rooms behind one door, and a bedroom behind the other. I especially loved the way the opposite room’s door was physically destroyed along with the script. I did find the lighting design a little jarring. Lighting a show in a semi-in-the-round auditorium is always tricky but I have seen in done effectively without lighting up the audience, which, while very helpful when reviewing did make it difficult to become totally immersed in the story.

I love that the bows ended with a very well-deserved hand to the window, arguably the main character, and the stage management team who flawlessly operated it. This was not just a show but a whole experience and made for a really lovely day out! I can’t help but think it’s a shame that tickets and dining are sold as a package only, as this does make tickets rather steep and potentially financially inaccessible for those looking only to see the show.

You can catch It's Her Turn Now until 18th November. Book tickets here.

**photos by Andreas Lambis**

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