Vienna Theatre Company See How They RunBy Michael Clark • Oct 26th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
Through November 4th
2:15 with intermission
$13/$11 Seniors and Students
Reviewed October 19, 2012
See How They Run is a farce, set just after World War II in a small village in England. The vicar’s wife, an American, is having trouble adjusting to the life expected of the wife of the vicar. Busybody Miss Skillon tries to keep Rev. Toops, the vicar, informed. When Rev. Toops leaves for an appointment, an old friend of his wife (Penelope) surprises her with a visit. They decide to attend a performance of Private Lives. Because of various complications (including an escaped Russian prisoner of war, a harsh sergeant, and early arrivals for Sunday services) there end up being four people running around the vicar’s home dressed as priests, with no one quite sure who anyone else is.
See How They Run was very funny, overall a successful implementation of the zaniness called for by the script. From the opening scene’s warbling by Penelope to the final resolution of identifying the many people running around the vicarage, the production had an upbeat pace that flagged only occasionally. One of those odd moments was when people were running through the house jumping over the bodies on the floor. The jumps looked a bit too rehearsed and awkward. Director Denise Perrino also designed the attractive set, although the curtained entrance on stage right was a little odd. I was also a little confused by the entrances on stage left. The closet door was the only entrance I could see from my seat, so I was very confused why people kept entering and exiting the living room through it. During the chase scene of the second act I realized there was another door downstage that I couldn’t see.
As the vicar’s wife Penelope, Jocelyn Steiner was enjoyable. She had a take charge personality, and didn’t quite understand her role as the wife of the vicar. Her scenes with former actor friend Clive Winton (Keith Miller) were hilarious, topped off with their recreation of a scene from Private Lives. Dana Maas appeared a bit too young to be the meddler Miss Skillon, but had a lot of fun in the part. The part called for some physicality and a willingness to be dragged around the stage, and be slugged by another character, which was a wonderul scene. The Reverend Toop was a bit scatter-brained, maybe a touch too innocent, but Michael Gerwin made him quite likeable. His feelings for his wife were true, adding to his confusion in the second act as she told a little white lie about his identity.
Jennifer Brawer was wonderful as the maid Ida. She was just cute as she lusted over Clive, and added a sparkle to all of her scenes. The other four men, the Bishop (John Barclay Burns), the Intruder (Luke McDade), Rev. Humphrey (Ray Converse) and Sergeant Towers (J.D. Leonard) were part of the inevitable chase scene, as well as a huge portion of causing the confusion that drove most of the second act.
In sum, Vienna Theatre Company’s See How They Run was an entertaining show.
See How They Run is a play I have wanted to direct since 1974. I loved the play when I first saw a production of the play by Piedmont Players at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. The characters, script and plot are pure British farce. The time period is very special one. My father and mother, Joy and Charles Nazum, were part of the WWII generation. I grew up listening to Big Band music and references to “The Great War.” The innocence and frivolity inherent in this play are themes that travel across generations. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I have. My entry into community theatre directing could not have been better, especially with such a wonderful company, cast, and crew.
Photos by Harold Bonacquist
- Ida (a maid): Jennifer Brawer
- Miss Skillon: Dana Maas
- The Reverend Lionel Toop: Michael Gerwin
- Penelope Toop (his wife): Jocelyn Steiner
- Corporal Clive Winton: Keith J. Miller
- The Intruder: Luke McDade
- Bishop of Lax: John Barclay Burns
- The Reverend Arthur Humphrey: Ray Converse
- Sergeant Towers: J.D. Leonard
- Producer: Jessie Roberts
- Director: Denise Perrino
- Assistant Director: Kelly Thompson
- Stag Manager & Master Electrician: Michael J. O’Connor
- Assistant Stage Manager: Kelly Thompson
- Set Designer: Denise Perrino
- Set Construction: John Vasko
- Set Construction/Painting Crew: John Barclay Burns, Ray Converse, Suzanne Maloney, Fred Mittelman, Denise Perrino, Jon Roberts, Jessie Roberts, Hope Slonim, Mike Smith, Adrian Steel, Jocelyn Steiner, Frances Sullivan
- Lighting Designer: Tom Epps
- Sound Designer: Ben Allen
- Hair and Make-up: Dusan nd Rachel Grante
- Set Dressing: Mike Smith
- Props: Jocelyn Steiner
- Costumes: Frances Sullivan
- Stage Combat Choreographer: Bob Smith
- Light Board Operators: Kimberely Crago, Ken Perkowski, Bill Mullins
- Run Crew: Hope Slonim
Disclaimer: Vienna Theatre Company provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review. VTC also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review.
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