Take one English vicarage, toss in a nosey parishioner, and top
off with the wackiest maid since Shirley Booth as well as an escaped
Russian spy, and the recipe for farce should be complete, as it is in
Glendale Centre Theatre’s “See How They Run.”
Still, longtime GCT director George Strattan, whose previous
theatrical mining has resulted in gold, provides an evening of
by-the-book shenanigans operating at 45 rpm rather than the 78
required for a farce to stay ahead of its audience.
Performances are strong and laughs do abound in this season
opener, but the very thing for which this theater is quaintly known
slows the proceedings: the theater’s interior architecture.
Farces demand a number of doorways facilitating requisite chases
and just-missed opportunities for characters to witness occurrences
that would clear up the whole mess were they to cross paths.
Actors are hampered with lengthy traffic patterns because a
crucial closet door is placed at the top of one of the theater’s main
Enjoyable regardless of the pace are Ferrell Marshall as the
Vicar’s American wife, Penelope, and James Castle Stevens as Clive
Winton, a friend from her days on the stage now stationed in
post-World War II England.
The chemistry here is flawless, with Stevens displaying a
physicality that must beg for chiropractic attention after each
Supporting admirably are Sonje Fortag’s exasperatedly loyal
housemaid, Ida, Jim Barkley as the visiting Rev. Humphrey, whose
cluelessness is hilarious, and Richard Malmos as blustering Sgt.
Towers, a military commander bent on straightening out the confusion.
Playwright Philip King’s inappropriately articulate dialogue can
be blamed for the case of wandering accent suffered by John Duncan as
the escaped Russian.
Strattan’s drawing-room set allows plenty of space for the
countless fainting, knockouts and other shtick while top-notch
costumer Debbie Gluck probably ran herself ragged coming up with not
one, but four ministerial suits.
Worthy of your attendance? Yes. This piece needs only some pace
tightening and paring of repetitive physical bits in order to live
up to its promising title.