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Saturday, 07 January 2012 18:24

An English Farce that runs high on the laughs

Written by Shahnaz Ahmed
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The Details

See How They Run is a comedic English farce of mistaken identities set in the late 1940s. The play written by Philip King takes place at the Vicarage where the vicar, Reverend Lionel Toop (Grant Neimeyer) lives peacefully with his former American actress wife Penelope (Amanda Vick), and is taken care of by their maid Ida (NoreenAnn Moore).

Throw in a complaining, prissy, village busy body Miss Skillon (Therese Rudroff), a visiting American soldier from Penelope's past, Corporal Clive Winton (Andy Ruzicka), an early visit from a pompous bishop, The Bishop of Lax (Ray Shea), a befuddled mild mannered vicar, Reverend Arthur Humphrey (Tim Cunningham), an escaped Soviet (John Hann) and what ensues will be a fast paced, good time.

The play was well acted by all. The comedy is apparent right from the beginning with Miss Skillon's complaints about the decorations of the pulpit. I identified with Miss Skillon's character, as annoying as she was trying to be proper. Great job there Therese Rudroff. Ray Shea played his part convincingly and he was about as stuffy as a Bishop could get. And Tim Cunningham played his character so well, you felt empathy for his confusions. The script unfortunately loses some steam towards the end. The character of the escaped Russian felt very contrived to me and the character motivations and behaviors seemed not to fit well to an otherwise excellent script. Sergeant Towers (Reginald Pierre) appearance in the last act to solve the case and to perhaps hold things together, was a lofty request, by any script. But despite it all, I still thoroughly enjoyed this play. The credit must go to the director Betsy Burnett-Belanger. She took some talented actors and some interesting characters and put it all together so the audience could get a good laugh.

The set was elegant, yet simple. There were stage exits representing several areas of the home, the upstage French doors leading out into the garden, the stairs leading into the rooms, the closet door, the exit right into the kitchen and the exit left for the entrance of the home was well thought out and put together. I liked how the set conveyed the scene in just one acting space of the living room. Good work by John Hann and Betsy Burnett-Belanger. Betsy was also responsible for the costumes and I especially loved Miss Skillon's costume. "How appropriate!" I thought. Light and sound was adequate. There was no need for anything fancy in this play and it all worked well together.

See How They Run is playing at The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves now through Jan 15th.

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