by Paul Vale
Arguably one of Britain’s best loved comedies, Philip King’s See How They Run premiered in London in 1945 offering something of a tonic to theatregoers at the tail end of the Second World War.
The play’s farcical structure coupled with instantly recognisable British stereotypes was an instant hit and still bears regular revivals nearly 70 years later. This tour by the newly-formed Reduced Height Theatre Company is the brainchild of film and television actor Warwick Davis, who aims to broaden the horizon of theatrical opportunities for short actors by presenting popular plays and incorporating reduced-height sets.
Farce is a notoriously gruelling art form for any actor and while the average height of the cast may be reduced, the comedy, energy level and pace remain at full throttle throughout. Rachel Denning as the unconventional parson’s wife Penelope is an absolute pleasure, grounding the farcical elements of the plot with precision timing and an impeccably dry delivery. Denning is challenged at either end of the scale by suitably pompous Francesca Papagno as the buxom Miss Skillon and the sheer force of nature that is Francesca Mills, playing the cheeky maid Ida.
Davis acquits himself adequately as a vaguely distracted Reverend Lionel Toop, given a run for his money by no less than four other clerics, including Jamie John as Humphrey, Jon Key as the Bishop and a particularly neat turn from Phil Holden, clinging precariously to the edge of sanity as a pragmatic Lance Corporal Clive Winton in disguise.