Because the show is almost through its run and because I want to encourage people to come see this fun show, I’m jamming through my review quickly. I want to post this soon so all my community theater-loving friends will go see See How They Run before it’s over.
Here’s what I liked about the production:
Director Dana Anquoe (who also plays Miss Skillin) has wisely and winningly used tons of physical comedy, a few consistent hilarious physical gags, and has encouraged her talented cast to play it big. I heartily approve. The VCP has a decent-sized theater in the round, and it would be tempting to just play it safe. Dana does not and there is sound, movement, doors slamming, people falling all over the place and other mayhem going every scene. You’d think it would be distracting, but it isn’t. It’s fun, fast, and fulfilling.
The costumes are wonderful and quite authentic. The set is as good as a theater in the round can be. There is a rather large couch that occupies one side of the theater, but it is necessary to the plot. The sound (by Jack Brannelly) is perfect (music and sound effects), and I love that the space is intimate enough that no microphones are required.
The cast all work well together, and I know they’ve pulled this show together quickly, so it’s impressive that they all are so cohesive, especially with so much physical comedy.
The cast is: Eric Ramaekers as Clive Winston, Brooklyn Poulter as Penelope Toop, William McAllister as Lionel Toop (David Henry understudy), Madeline Brannelly as Ida, Andrew Whittaker as Bishop of Lax (Patrick Brannelly understudy), Joseph Smith as Arthur Humphreys, Bruce Blackman as Sgt. Towers, and Tyler Renstrom as The Intruder. All actors did a fine job, though there were slips and glitches in the English accents at times. But I want to highlight two of the performers who absolutely lit up each scene they were in. One is Madeline Brannelly, who played Ida the Maid. She did a fabulous job and I look forward to seeing her in many future productions. The other is Tyler Renstrom, who had one of the smaller parts, but made every movement, every word, every joke as clear and perfect as they should be.
See How They Run is a farce, and as I said, Anquoe’s direction was spot on for this show. However, I was slightly disappointed when The Intruder makes his entrance that the characters who interact with him aren’t more afraid. The Intruder threatens them all with a gun, but I really saw no fear. I’m not sure if this was a directional choice, an actor’s choice, or what. My take on farce is that the people on stage are dead serious (slight pun, sorry) while we audience members basically see their antics as silly. The more serious the actors, the funnier it gets. Having that one more layer of fear when The Intruder appears would have created an interesting tension that would have given the audience even more to laugh at.
However, there are hundreds of laughs in this show. I myself just finished a show that was very intense and I was pleased that See How They Run was just plain fun. I was able to sit back, watch and hear all the fun plot twists and hilarious antics, and just enjoy myself.
Grab your friends, your grandma, your kids, and treat yourself to See How They Run. You’ll be glad you did.
See How They Run
Valley Center Playhouse
780 N 200 E
Jan 25 – Feb 18
Tickets: Adult $7.00, Children/Seniors/Students $5.00, Family pass $25.