Mill at Sonning Theatre – until 28 July 2018
Tucked away just outside Reading, is the beautiful rustic Mill at Sonning Theatre. Full of history and charm, this 17th-century flour mill and now theatre really is a little gem to visit. Artistic director Sally Hughes is on hand to welcome and ensure that her staff give exemplary attentive service – which they do.
Written by Agatha Christie, The Unexpected Guest is full of intrigue and keeps you guessing right until the end. Full of twists and turns, the interval is spent discussing with fellow audience members who you think has “done it”. A strong cast delivers the quintessentially British “Murder Mystery”. My experience of Christie is that it becomes quite apparent, early on, that the murder victim has so many enemies that it could be any one of the remaining cast who could be the murderer.
Each member of the cast has their moment to make you think it was them and they all take the opportunity to seize it. From Henry Angell (George Telfer) to the Mother, Mrs Warwick (Diane Keen), they are all convincing in their version of events. All the cast are on point here but particular other mentions must go to Kate Tydman, Séan Browne, Rosalind Blessed and Patrick Myles, who all helped the audience to believe the twists and turns of the story.
However, the biggest credit must go to Luke Barton as Jan Warwick. His extensive research into his characters’ mannerisms is really outstanding and are so real they can be felt by the audience. Barton gives an astonishingly good and sympathetic performance of a very difficult character to portray.
Expertly directed by Brian Blessed, this charming quintessentially British murder mystery is a thoroughly enjoyable evening out. The surroundings add to the evening and I definitely will be visiting this theatre again, the experience is worth the journey. So please do get in your car or hop on the train and visit this exquisite historic and lovingly restored theatre.