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REVIEW: A Night in Provence at the Mill at Sonning

Martin Trepte

REVIEW: A Night in Provence at the Mill at Sonning

Andreas Lambis

The creators of a Night in Provence delve deep into the traditional comedy cookbook to serve up a dish that has a taste of everything - but is more than the sum of its ingredients

The action takes in Provence on the French Riviera in an exclusive seaside villa that has been inadvertently booked by three couples – the sophisticated Maurice and Yvette from Paris, brash Irish couple Shaun and Moira, and chavvy Brits Judy and Fred, from that Laandaan.

The stage is set for a whirlwind of cultural clashes, social misunderstandings, fiery outbursts, sexual frustration and too much wine, all taking place above an undercurrent of secrets and lies.

More than just a farce, A Night in Provence pays homage to some of the nation’s favourite comedy traditions.

It combines a hint of a Carry On film with the flavours of much loved 70s sit-coms and maybe some flashes of Father Ted – though that might just be the Father Dougal-esque delivery of some of Shaun’s lines.

Chuck in a healthy amount of double entendres and a few Brexit gags to bring it up to date, stir and allow to simmer.

The resulting concoction is a fast-paced romp that is never less than very funny, sometimes a little bittersweet and boasts some genuine laugh-out-loud moments of comic genius and timing.

The script it clever and witty and demands quite a lot from the excellent cast, requiring them to switch quickly through a range of emotions. And then there is a deliciously satisfying little twist to the end too.

The impressive set, designed by Terry Parsons whose credits include 37 West End shows, plays to the intimacy of the cosy theatre, with the barest of gaps between audience and players.

Another surefire hit from the Mill at Sonning.

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