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Lamb’s Players Theatre has another hit on its hands in Philip King’s 1944 British farce “See How They Run,” playing through Sept. 23 at their Coronado theater.
Confusion, mistaken identities and a whole lot of running around and door-opening and slamming characterize this silly story about an English vicar (Jason Heil), his American (and former actress) wife (Cynthia Gerber), assorted locals and visitors and an escaped German prisoner (Jeffrey Jones).
It’s all played out on Mike Buckley’s smashing two-level set featuring a nice long staircase and several doors downstairs (including double doors to the garden) for characters to pop in and out of.
Jemima Dutra’s costumes are spot-on, and the techie aspects of sound (Deborah Gilmour Smyth) and lighting (Lila Lace Flores King) are handled nicely as well.
The plot doesn’t really matter, but it might be good to remember this line from clever cockney maid Ida (played with a big wink by Kerry Meads), trying to juggle the goofy antics going on in her employer’s house: “Whatever you see, pretend you didn’t see, see?”
The good Vicar Toop (Heil) gets a visit from local scold Miss Skillon (a hilarious Myra McWethy), who seems to make a career of imagining all sorts of slights. This time, she is horrified to report that someone has usurped her job and put the harvest festival decorations on the pulpit.
The someone is, of course, that awful American – and the vicar’s wife – Penelope (Gerber); to put it mildly, the two do not share a warm relationship.
“I did not come here to be insulted,” says Miss Skillon.
“Oh? Where do you usually go?” quips Penelope.
Miss Skillon’s opinion of Penelope is confirmed when she steals back into the house through the garden to witness a scandalous clinch between Penelope and the uniformed Cliff Wilson (Brendan Farley), a former acting colleague now posted to the nearby American base.
Also along for the ride are two clergymen (Jim Chovick and Paul Maley) and a cockney bobby (Ron Choularton), all pitted against each other in madcap style, resulting in hilarity all around.
McWethy proves a good sport, as teetotaler Miss Skillon takes to the cooking sherry, resulting in unsteady gait and leading to various other events that will see her shoved, dragged, and knocked out and confined to a closet.
Director Robert Smyth is in his element here – he understands both farce and the sound and look of the ’40s and directs his excellent cast with exactly the right touch.
“See How They Run” may not be the most coherent farce around, but it did pave the way for the likes of Michael Frayn’s classic “Noises Off,” and still provides a rollicking good time in the theater.
“See How They Run” plays through Sept. 23 at Lamb’s Players Threatre, 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado.
Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 4 and 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm.
For tickets, call 619-437-6000 or visit HERE.
To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.