Opera House, Manchester
Reading the resumes for the cast of the latest reincarnation of Philip King’s See How They Run, at The Opera House, Manchester, every actor lists parts for TV, film and plays which, as you would expect, are almost exclusively parts for short people.
But now The Reduced Height Theatre Company plans to scale down its sets to suit a cast with an average height of 4ft 2in, therefore levelling the playing field and creating plays that take the comedy not from the cast but from the dialogue. The driving force behind the company is Warwick Davis, who since playing an Ewok in Star Wars, has carved out an amazing career and is now rarely off our screens, large and small.
Playing the part of Reverend Lionel Toop, who attempts to understand what is happening to him as events quickly spiral out his control, he and the rest of the cast exude boundless energy.
Played at an amazing pace, sometimes the dialogue is a little lost, but the movement between actors is seamless. Francesca Mills as Ida The Maid is faultless, delighting every time she appears.
Phil Holden as Lance Corporal Clive Winton and Rachel Denning as Penelope Toop steady a ship that could so easily become far too far-fetched.
Whether or not Warwick has achieved his ambition with this new company is questionable. Many of the laughs are certainly created by the farce, but in choosing a play that relies on physical agility and preposterous situations, much of that humour still comes from the actors’ movement around the stage.
The clue is in the title.