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Dead of Night at The Mill at Sonning

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 13th Apr 2015 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

They often say that the best things often come in small packages, and The Mill at Sonning certainly comes into that category.

Winner of a Most Welcoming Theatre award, this 215-seater dinner theatre also generates its own electricity and is completely self-funded.

And its latest coup is hard to beat.

Dead of Night

The picturesque venue on the banks of the Thames is currently undergoing a £300,000 refurbishment but, while other theatres may go dark, the Mill’s managing director Sally Hughes has made the most of the situation by commissioning an entertainment which has been written especially for the theatre in its current state.

Dead of Night is devised by Hotspur Theatre (founded in 2013 by Tam Williams, son of actor Simon Williams, and currently a star of the Olivier New Musical winner Sunny Afternoon), which specialises in creating site-specific, small-cast productions.

And boy, do they deliver!

To give away the plot would spoil it for any future audiences, but what I can say is that the action starts in the newly installed Waterwheel Bar where the actors have to perform Macbeth because the theatre is… being refurbished.

But after 40 minutes of mayhem and egotistical meltdown, The Scottish Play gives way to a ghost story which slowly comes to life in a promenade production which takes the audiences through the darkened - and some say haunted - theatre.

It’s thrilling stuff. For someone who laughed their way through Ghost Stories in London’s West End, I was shaking in my shoes.

Hotspur Theatre is a company to be reckoned with. Dead of Night was written by Luke Beattie and Nick Malinowski, who both appear in the play, and marks actor Chris Myles’ directorial debut. It’s imaginative, innovative and has lots of laughs to get us into a false sense of security, while there is just the right amount of horror – well, for me, anyway. I was scared, not quite to the point where I had had enough, but almost…

The entire company deserves praise for its spirited (and I don’t mean the ghostly kind!) performances, enhanced by magician Paul Daniels’ help as illusion consultant. I can’t wait to see their next production.

Dead of Night is at The Mill at Sonning until May 2.

Box Office: 0118 969 8000



1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Clare. This really seems to tick ALL the boxes!
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