SOUTHWICK Players took audiences back to 1943 last week with performances of See How They Run! at The Barn Theatre.
The farce in three acts was written in that year by the late Philip King, who was president of Southwick Players at the time and went on to become an accomplished playwright with his work being performed in theatres all over the country.
From the programme to the 1940s-style ice cream seller, everything was arranged to create an authentic wartime theatre experience. We even had to stand for the National Anthem and sing ‘God Save the King’.
Adding to the hilarity of the play itself, there were nice little pastiche performances from the cast, pretending to be key Players committee members of the period.
H Reeves, excellent as Sergeant Towers in the play, had people in stitches with his interval ‘raffle draw’ for a hamper including tripe.
The storyline was pure farce, requiring the actors to ham it up a bit. Thankfully, they avoided going too far.
Amy Bowyer is a little diamond. She was just brilliant as the maid Ida, trying to grasp control of the ever-spiralling confusion.
Peter Jukes made a great Bishop of Lax, bumbling around with make-up that looked deliberately overdone to tie in with the 1940s experience.
Kerry Williams was commanding as the Penelope Toop, the vicar’s wife, and Liz Gibson contrasted well with her as the indomitable Miss Skillon.
And then we had the ‘vicars’ – Neil Drew as Lionel Toop, Tobias Clay as Clive Winton, Frank Horsley as Arthur Humphrey and Andrew Bird as The Intruder. They were a great mix of characters, Tobias camp and extravagant, while Frank was much more demure and quiet, tickling one particular woman in the audience on Friday who could not stop laughing at his antics.
The storyline, inevitably, involved a lot of running around and the cast did well to keep up the momentum.
Len Shipton created the perfect set, fulfilling the need for an upstairs level, front door, cupboard and door to a second room. There was some stunning paintwork which created a great 3-D effect on the doors and windows.
Having celebrated their 80th anniversary last year, it was nice to see the Players honour one of their own for the start of the 2016 season. Next on the list is an evening of one-act plays, to be shown from June 2 to 4 at The Barn.
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