Written by Philip King,
Directed by Cefyn Gauden
(Published; CHB Mail July 23 2013)
Laugh Out Loud
What do you get when you have a drama queen, a sloshed tattletale, a vicar, a bishop, a prisoner of war, a love-struck maid and a surprise visit from the past thrown into the most conservative of English villages?
Mayhem and side splitting madness.
And that’s exactly what ensued during the Waipukurau Little Theatre’s latest offering, See How They Run.
Philip King’s classic farce puts ordinary people into an extraordinary situation, adds one part slapstick humour to two parts one liner’s which over three acts brings the audience from polite snickers to laugh out loud fun.
There have been many interpretations of King’s original but under the direction of Cefyn Gauden the story remained true to form, relying on cleverly delivered dialogue and a superbly directed cast to carry the audience on a journey that starts with a scratchy version of God Save The Queen and ends in a room full of people held to ransom at gun-point.
The story is set in an English village with the unlikely name of Merton-cum-Middlewick and opens with the newlywed couple of Vicar Lionel Toop and his wife Penelope dealing with accusations from the local busybody Miss Skillon concerning Mrs Toop’s usurperous decoration of the pulpit and wearing of trousers in the village.
How the play progresses from this minor incident to full on farce filled with mistaken identities, de-robed clergy, drunken bodies and war casualties is a journey you have to see to believe.
The laughs came easily as this fast paced three act rollercoaster screamed into action, but the chaos was never so overwhelming that the story or punch-lines were ever lost on the audience.
The cast worked together to create a thoroughly believable dynamic. Emma Walker and Owen Potter were fantastic as Mrs and Vicar Toop, and Mike Fleming was well cast as Lance Corporal Clive Winton, the real laughs came with the supporting characters. The comedic timing and personalities of Debbie Hart as love-struck maid Ida and Edward Carleton Holmes as the Reverend Arthur Humphrey lifted the play from a good farce into a true comedy.
A well put together play and a wonderfully fun evening.