KAYSVILLE — See How They Run is a farce written by Philip King that premiered in the 1940s in London. Hopebox Theatre in Kaysville is putting on this funny show directed by Ryan Bruckman that follows the story of a Vicar, Reverend Lionel Toop, played by Josh Curtis, and the reverend’s wife, a former actress, Penelope Toop, played by Katie Plott, as a series of unexpected visitors and mishaps leads to mayhem, confusion, and fun all set in the backdrop of World War II Europe.
The Hopebox is a unique theatre in the Utah scene, where the proceeds for each show go partly to benefit a member of the community fighting cancer, and that person is featured in the program and spotlighted in the theatre upon arrival. The set for the show, designed by Ryan Bruckman, is visually stunning, with beautiful pieces matching the time period perfectly. The lighting by Derek Raynor is a perfect fit with the set design. The full visual is excellent and it feels like being transported into the 1940s. The costumes by Stephanie Bruckman adds that final technical touch that make the technical elements of the show shine.
The players do quite well in this farce and physical comedy. The show is aptly named, for a lot of the action involves running on stage, and it is impressive to see just how each of the cast members are able to handle this physical comedy. Clive Winton, played by Josh Astle, shows up as a friend of Miss Toops. The friendship chemistry between Plott and Astle is fun to watch, but even more so is the physical comedy that the two share. Add in the physical humor of the uppity neighbor, Miss Skillon, played masterfully by Kristina Boler, and the show has several scenes where the three characters are trying to get out of scrapes that they have created through simple misunderstandings. Astle as Clive says that it seems whenever someone has one of these ideas, “something always goes wrong.” With the help of Ida, a maid played by Madison Moretti, Clive and Penelope attempt to just have an evening of fun before Clive goes back to his station as a soldier in the army. However, that evening of fun could bring a bit of trouble if Clive is not back before a certain time and if Penelope is not back before the vicar comes home and her uncle, the Bishop, arrives in the morning.
And go wrong it does. Later in the evening, Penelope’s uncle, the Bishop of Lax, played by Tim Behunin, arrives, and even more confusion ensues. I found myself endeared to the poor bishop, extremely frustrated for the man, and humored at how flustered Behunin as the Bishop could appear by the confusion and chaos in the home. The way he describes the events as they unfolded is hilarious, and it makes me want to have him narrate all the exciting events that happen in my life.
As new characters were added in, I found myself thinking, “Oh dear, please how can we add more chaos to the scene?” The actors and director Ryan Bruckman have done a good job of making sense of the story line and coordinating the chaos, though I am not sure the script is as tight as it could be. At one point there are at least four different Reverends, a drunk neighbor, a maid, a policeman, and the wife all running around, and I was not sure who was who. I doubt the characters were sure either. However, I was laughing, and the story was a good reminder that hiding one thing leads to hiding more and more things until it is impossible to hide any more. The truth will always come out.
All in all, the farce put on by Hopebox Theatre is a delight, with tight, appropriate technical elements and smart staging. The cast played their roles well, successfully timing the farce so that I was frantic with laughter. Ryan Bruckman led the production well as the director, and the knowing that a percentage of the proceeds of the night went to a community member fighting cancer made the night that much more enjoyable.