SEE HOW THEY RUN
by Philip King.
Tour to 3 December 29011.
Runs: 2hr One interval..
Review: Alan Geary: 26 September at Palace Theatre Mansfield..
Still delivers after nearly seventy years.
It’s September 1944, wartime. The young Rev Toop and ex-actress wife Penelope are visited by her uncle, the Bishop of Lax. Trouble is, Penelope’s old pal and fellow actor Lance-Corporal Clive Winton, turns up simultaneously. So do a visiting vicar and an escaped German POW.
This is famously classic English farce: counting the French windows and a conveniently spacious broom cupboard, there are five doors opening and closing, a working-class maid, a village spinster busybody type, dropped trousers, and misunderstandings all round. At one point there appear to be five clerics on stage simultaneously – leading to the play’s most famous line.
All the characters here are believable and everyday. Problem is they’ve all found themselves in a situation that’s getting further and further removed from the everyday. And each is operating at complete cross-purposes to everyone else.
Performances in The Original Theatre Ccompany’s production are uniformly excellent; every single actor exploits the potential of his part and contributes to the pace and attack so crucial in successful farce.
The period is well realised, except that is for the chaps’ suits and haircuts, which mostly look a little sixties. And Ida says “Gararge” at one point instead of “Garridge”, which is surely what she would have said in real life.
The escaped German prisoner, of course calls a joke a “yoke”, which got a guaranteed laugh in the forties and gets one now. This is all entirely entertaining stuff.
Ida: Rachel Donovan.
Miss Skillon: Lucy Speed.
The Reverend Lionel Toop: Alistair Whatley.
Penelope Toop: Siobhan O’Kelly.
Lance-Corporal Clive Winton: David Partridge.
The Intruder: Rhys King.
The Bishop of Lax: Arthur Bostrum.
The Reverend Arthur Humphrey: Leo Atkin.
Sergeant Towers: Sebastian Abineri.
Director: Chris Harper.
Designer: Victoria Spearing.
Lighting: Alan Valentine.
Sound: Dominic Bilkey.
Costume: Pam Wiggins.
Assistant director: Craig Gilbert.