LEISURE

‘Mrs. Markham’ brings farce to SRT

The cast of “Move Over Mrs. Markham,” including director Francis Gercke (center), prepares for the upcoming performances at Scripps Ranch Theatre. (photo by Daren Scott)

‘Mrs. Markham’ brings farce to SRT

A busy stage and a healthy dose of British humor are in store for local playgoers when Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) presents “Move Over Mrs. Markham,” May 31-June 30.

Written by Ray Cooney and John Chapman, the play is described as a “hectic British farce full of laugh-inducing misunderstandings, mix-ups and mistaken identities” among a group of couples who each think they have an empty London flat to themselves.

Owners of the flat, Philip and Joanna Markham, have each, without telling the other, given a friend permission to use the place on the same date for a romantic rendezvous. As it turns out, the interior designer hired to renovate the flat decided to have his au pair friend visit on the same night. When all three sets of people converge on the apartment, chaos and comedy ensue.

Director Francis Gercke predicts the play’s unexpected twists and turns will keep both the audience and the actors on their heels, in the funniest and most entertaining way.

“The characters have a definite plan for how they want the day to go and at every turn, things go awry,” he said. “Just when it seems like something is working out like the characters intend, a wrench is thrown into the works.”

Gercke, who previously directed “Tribute” and “Loves and Hours” at SRT, added that “Move Over Mrs. Markham” is also something of a funny math problem.

“You get to the point where you wonder how this is ever going to work out,” he said. “Somehow, in true British style, it does.”

The cast includes Leigh Akin as Joanna Markham, Alex Guzman as Phillip Markham, Kate Reynolds as Linda Lodge, John DeCarlo as Henry Lodge, Colette Culbertson as Sylvie, Jill Drexler as Olive Harriet Smyth, Chris Szabo as Walter Pangbourne and Kylie Young as Felicity Jan Wilkinson. This will be the first SRT performance for Akin, Culbertson and Szabo.

Filled with laughs, the play offers a respite for those seeking an escape from their own busy, hectic lives, according to Gercke.

“A play like this provides a respite from the complications of the real world,” he said. “I think it’s an absolutely delightful day or night at the theater.”

Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. “Move Over Mrs. Markham” begins its run May 31 and will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through June 30. To reserve seats, call (858) 578-7728. For ticket price information, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

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