Move Over Mrs Markham

by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
3 June - 11 July 2002
Rex Garner

Rex Garner

Rex entered the theatre after spending the war years on a drawing board designing jigs and tools for aircraft engines. He chose to go into the theatre as complete escapism and secured a job at the Playhouse Theatre, Henley-on-Thames where he was spotted by a director who offered him a season at the Little Theatre in Edinburgh. Here he played in
The Anatomist with Alastair 5im who later put him into Dr Angelus at the Phoenix Theatre in London. 1948 saw him in Norman Marshall’s London Gate Theatre Company, touring Germany with Hamlet and 5haw’s Man and Superman. He then joined the Arts Theatre Ipswich where he worked for two directors, Warren Jenkins and A R Whatmore, both of whom gave him invaluable experience. Then followed a spell of commercial broadcasting for Harry Alan Towers working with Orson Wells, Michael Redgrave, Jean 5immons etc. In 1954 he joined the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham for Derek Salberg,
where he stayed for four years playing a wide variety of roles in fortnightly repertory. He left there far television when he was offered the lead in Shadow Squad. He followed that with a sit-com My Wife and I with Mai Zetterling as his co-star. In all, he did over 200 television shows of all types in the UK.

He went to South Africa in 1968 to join the Academy Theatre and commuted between 50uth Africa and the UK far some years. During this period he played the co-lead in Not Now Darling on Broadway and finally settled in South Africa in 1974 as Artistic Director for the Academy Theatre until the theatre closed in 1979. He immediately joined Pieter Toerien acting and directing plays until 1999. While with Pieter Toerien he directed and played in Move Over Mrs Markham for which he won a Vita Comedy Award nomination. In 1983 he won two Fleur du Cap Awards, Best Director for Noises Off and Best Actor for Mass Appeal, making him the first person to receive both awards in the same year. He
directed Clarence Darrow which won a Quarterly Vita Award for Best Production and won the Breytenbach Epathlon Best Director Award. That same year he played the main role in Moliere’s The Miser for which he received the Tonight Best Actor Award and was nominated for a Artes Best Actor Award. In the 90’s he did four series of a sit-com Going Up which topped the ratings.

He has now settled back in London to pick up his career there again.