Review: See How They Run @ New Theatre
I will admit I did cringe at first hearing about this production. But I was quickly put in my place, as was a seeping political correctness about the whole thing. Why shouldn't we have a troupe of dwarfs or even little people on stage? I should point out that the term midget is an absolute no.
Watching the company in action you quickly forget all this and just get swept away in the silly, old-fashioned British humour of the whole thing. Plucked from the 1940s, Phillip King's play can still hold its own as a pretty amusing farce, whatever the size of the performers. The marvellous Warwick Davis (who received a torrent of applause when he first arrived on stage) plays Reverend Lionel Toop. Along with the Reverend's wife Penelope (played by the glamorous and very well spoken Rachel Denning) they are mixed up in an amusing web of fake vicars, cooking brandy and Nazis.
The whole evening had me laughing, but it was the first two acts (prior to the interval) which got me the most. Francesca Mills as Ida the maid stole the show in her frantic and maddening performance. Her comic timing was positively resplendent. Miss Skillon played by Francesca Papagno, also a delight in her busy body, head mistress sort of way. Her getting slapped repeatedly and getting drunk on the sofa made some real giggles come out of me. I may have been the youngest audience member present, but that doesn't mean I wasn't going to have a good time.
After the curtain call, Warwick (who also produced the show) spoke of how important this company is becoming for small theatre in the performing industries. He made some jokes and asked for us to donate as we left the theatre. I proudly put £1 in the box. I never donate, but was more than happy to on this night for such a worth cause. We should all do his more often.
A rib-tickling, delightful old farce.