See How They Run

Date 17th March 2022
Society Tynemouth Priory Theatre
Venue Priory Theatre Tynemouth
Type of Production Farce
Director Ann Leake/Ali Broughton
Musical Director
Choreographer
Producer
Written By Philip King

Report

Author: Ken Allan

See How They Run by Philip King is a typically British farce set in the idyllic rural village of Merton-cum-Middlewick during World War II, the inhabitants of which are preparing themselves for the imminent threat of a German invasion. Meanwhile, resident spinster, Miss Skillon (Fiona Jones), becomes convinced that her beloved vicar's actress wife Penelope Toop (Rachel Hardy) is having an affair and attempts to expose her. With a complicated plot of mistaken identity between the vicar; The Reverend Lionel Toop (Ian Cairns), Penelope’s ex-actor friend Lance Corporal Clive Winton (Alex Swan) and an escaped German prisoner of war (Glen Kingston), further complicated by the visiting Bishop of Lax (David Littlefield), a locum priest The Reverend Arthur Humphrey (Dave Cooper) and a witless housemaid Ida (Alex Heppell), hilarious confusion and mayhem result. Army Sergeant Towers (Danny Patterson) however, comes to everyone’s rescue and takes charge at the climax of the piece, when ‘peace’ reigns again – thank the Lord!!!.

As Miss Skillon, Fiona Jones very ably plays a part which most actresses would give their right arm for. Her displays of disparagement, athletic drunkenness and her frilly knee-length knickers are first class, and well worth the ticket price!.

Rachel Hardy lights up the stage every time she appears, in a classy, sassy performance as Penelope. A huge part very well done. She is well supported by both Ian Cairns in the role of her straight-laced husband and Alex Swan her romantic ex-actor friend.

Alex Heppell’s hapless housemaid Ida, was a comedienne’s tour-de-force, displaying excellent timing and wonderful delivery. Her characterisation was top notch and totally convincing.

With a made-to-measure part; David Littlefield’s Bishop of Lax was simply wonderful. His athletic ability was also very impressive in the ‘running’ scenes. He, along with Dave Cooper, Glen Kingston and newcomer Danny Patterson made up a very talented cast.

One minor complaint – and just a personal opinion!; the audience needs to hear the story, especially in a play such as this and, unfortunately, the dialogue was not audible in some places this evening. Perhaps the use of some stage-front microphones would have helped.

Farce is arguably one of the most difficult genres of Theatre to direct (having been there myself), and Ann Leake and Ali Broughton excelled, within the confines of a small playing area, with a superb result. Congratulations to them both.

The production was further enhanced by a wonderful set, beautifully dressed with period props and equally superb costumes, wigs and hairstyles; all fitting the timeline.

The almost full auditorium showed their appreciation with long applause after the final scene. We were treated to a splendid night’s escapism full of belly laughs (with not a single doodlebug in sight!), and were heartily and thoroughly entertained.

Thank you from National President Gordon, Pauleen and myself for the invitation and the photo opportunity.