Three Men in a Boat ★★★★ The Mill at Sonning | Jun 6 - Jul 13, 2024

Jerome K. Jerome's classic tale of friends undertaking a boat trip on the Thames from Kingston to Oxford is a gentle evocation of the Edwardian era. This is a world of innocent snobbery and foolish affectation that is kindheartedly mocked, while simultaneously being affectionately depicted. It can all seem a little dated, but if one can get into the spirit of things, this is a pleasant escape into a time and place which may have only existed for an elite even during its period. However, the portrait of three friends teasing each other and bickering about their individual foibles rings totally true, and the narrative of their summer sojourn, which stands in stark contrast to the trauma drama and brutally dark humour that accords with contemporary taste, has a definite appeal. This production with its cleverly versatile set by Sean Cavanagh and outstanding performances from James Bradshaw, Sean Rigby and George Watkins proves to be a lovely respite from present realities. All three members of the cast manage to catch the light airy tone of the piece, and the quality of their bantering interactions are completely convincing. The pastiche of Jerome's anecdotes about the idiosyncrasies of friendship, plus the silliness of some music hall songs and the nostalgia for a simpler time all combine to produce some lovely summer fare. At the end of the show, the projection presaging the voyagers' future provides an unexpectedly thoughtful coda, putting the narrative in a political perspective that brings the audience back to those events that have created the world we currently live in and its more complex value system. Nevertheless, for a most congenial summer outing, we advise you to join the three men in a boat as they sail past Sonning.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Andreas Lambis

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When, Where, Getting there:
  • Jun 6 - Jul 13, 2024
  • Wed - Sat: 8:15 pm. Restaurant open: 6:15 pm - 8 pm
  • Thu (from Jun 20): 2:15 pm. Restaurant open: 12:15 pm - 2 pm
  • Sat: 2:15 pm. Restaurant open: 12:15 pm - 2 pm
  • Sun (from Jun 16): 2:15 pm. Restaurant open: 12:15 pm - 2 pm
  • The Mill at Sonning
  • Nearest station: Reading

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