Classic British farce is a whole lot of fun for St. Vincent Summer Theatre actors
A proper British farce should leave audiences reeling from laughter.
St. Vincent Summer Theatre doesn't disappoint with its production of “See How They Run!,” according to Greggory Brandt, producing artistic director who directs the play opening June 29 on the college campus in Unity.
Brandt says theatergoers should plan to “come and laugh, let go and get caught up in the characters” in the Philip King comedy that first premiered in 1943, at about the same time the story takes place in rural England before the end of World War II.
Set in and around an English vicarage, the production features a cast of nine to keep track of as they cavort at a rapid pace through a plot of mistaken identities and assorted doors at the home of the clergyman.
An assortment of characters weave through the play, ranging from an American actor and actress, a cockney maid and an old maid, to four men in clergyman suits – including one that actually is an escaped prisoner – and the quiet Bishop of Lax who can't quite keep up with all that's happening around him.
“Things go horribly wrong for the bishop who is thoroughly flummoxed by everything going on,” says David Cabot of Edgewood, who portrays the befuddled character in the actor's first “straight man” role in his 11th year performing at St. Vincent. Most recently, he was seen as Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple” last season.
Also having “great fun” with her role as old spinster Miss Skillon is Maria Silverman of New York, who plays the rival of Penelope (Daina Michelle Griffith).
“With all the reserve and indignation she enters the play with, she changes – and I won't tell you how,” Silverman teases about her character. The Chicago native says she is thoroughly enjoying her first trip to St. Vincent, where she is having fun taking in the sights of western Pennsylvania.
“It's like being paid to go on an adventure,” she says.
Griffith of Swissvale and her real-life husband, Dan Krell, who portrays Lance Corporal Clive Winton, are both veterans of St. Vincent Summer Theatre, but this is the first time they are performing together in a show there.
“It's so much fun; I can wake him up at 7 in the morning and say, ‘Let's go over our lines,'” she says, adding that they work well together because “he understands my rhythms and I trust him.”
Griffith most recently portrayed Gwendolyn Pigeon in St. Vincent's “The Odd Couple” last summer. Krell was last seen in 2015 in the role of Mitch Albom in “Tuesdays with Morrie.”
Also featured in the cast are Kevin Daniel O'Leary, Elizabeth Chappel, Dave Holyoak, Christopher Swan and Mark Tinkey.
This is the third time that St. Vincent has staged “See How They Run!” Previous productions were in 1949 and 1973.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.