UK Theatre Network

Carolin Kopplin

Warwick Davis decided to form the Reduced Height Theatre Company to enable himself and other short actors to play roles that would otherwise not be offered to them. Their first venture is See How They Run by Philip King, a much loved farce set in 1943 and playing heavily on mistaken identity, doors and vicars.

Penelope Toop, a former actress now happily married to the local vicar, the Rev. Lionel Toop, lives a rather quiet life in Merton-cum-Middlewick. Miss Skillon, a churchgoer and gossip is outraged because Penelope has chosen the decoration for the pulpit this year - a task Miss Skillon has performed quite admirably up till now. The vicar tries to be diplomatic but Penelope is not so inclined. She looks like a bird of paradise next to the old-maidish Miss Skillon and knows it. Eventually, the vicar leaves for the night and an old friend and former acting colleague of Penelope's, Clive Winton, stops by to say hello. To dodge army regulations, he changes from his uniform into Lionel's second-best suit to see a production of Private Lives (in which they appeared together during their time on the stage), while pretending to be the visiting vicar Arthur Humphrey who is due to preach the Sunday sermon the next day when the Bishop of Lax, Penelope's uncle, is also due to arrive. Needless to say both Penelope's uncle, the Bishop of Lax, and the real Humphrey unexpectedly show up early. Chaos quickly ensues, culminating in a mad chase and mistaken identities.

The cast is very good in this madcap farce, ably directed by Eric Potts. Francesca Mills gets most of the laughs as the cheeky cockney maid Ida, closely pursued by Francesca Papagno as the dowdy Miss Skillon. Rachel Denning is suitably flamboyant and self-confident as Penelope. Warwick Davis is very funny as Penelope's patient husband as he is drawn into the ensuing chaos. Jon Key lends authority to the Bishop and Peter Bonner has some funny lines as the Sergeant. The play seems somewhat dated to me but it still gets a lot of laughs, especially with this outstanding ensemble.

See this production for an entertaining evening out!