An actress, bishop and lots of laughs
See How They Run
Dudley Little Theatre
Netherton Arts Centre
THIS is British farce at its best, with laugh-a-minute antics involving vicars, a bishop, a former actress, an escaped German prisoner of war and a bellowing army sergeant.
When author Philip King wrote the first act in 1942 it was called Moon Madness, and it's easy to see why. But when the completed play was first performed by Peterborough Rep two years later it had the now familiar title.
See How They Run is certainly more appropriate, and this splendid cast probably feel drained at the end of each performance after darting in and out of three doors, a large cupboard and up and down the staircase, or wrestling on the floor of the Vicarage in the imaginary village of Merton-cum-Middlewick.
It's a wartime romp with no surrender, plus the special ingredient of pass-the-dog-collar as clergymen real and bogus dominate the action.
Tony Stamp leads the way as the eye-popping village vicar, the Rev Lionel Toop, with Rebecca Clee superb as his former actress wife, Penelope, a lady with modern views that shock some of the locals.
In particular she upsets tweedy spinster Miss Skillon, played with a great sense of comedy by Lyndsey Parker, particularly in the scenes where she is accidentally knocked out and then gets tipsy on the vicarage sherry. But was that a wedding ring on her left hand?
Cracking performances, too, from Emily Woolman (Ida, the maid), David Hutchins (Lance Corporal Winton), Maurice Felton (the Bishop of Lax). Chris Jones (the Rev Arthur Humphrey), and James Silvers (the POW).
John Lucock is so good as Sgt Towers who arrives searching for the escaped prisoner then has to unravel the multi-vicar mystery, he might have been drafted in from the regular army. He certainly grabs your atten-shun!
Full marks to director Prue Warne and producer Frank Martino for the way this fast-paced farce ticks all the boxes. See How They Run runs to Saturday night 15.05.10
(01384) 872583 Also request tickets on website PLUS tickets also
Dudley Council Plus, Castle Street, Dudley. ( 01384 812812); Books
Unlimited, Lower High Street, Stourbridge; Flavell's Butchers, Netherton.
Box office (01384) 872583 Also request tickets on website PLUS tickets also available from Dudley Council Plus, Castle Street, Dudley. ( 01384 812812); Books Unlimited, Lower High Street, Stourbridge; Flavell's Butchers, Netherton.