BLUFFDALE — There are some plays and musicals that just work. No matter the decade performed, the venue in question or the cast these classic works can be counted on to deliver a rousing night of entertainment for all involved. Philip King‘s farcical comedy See How They Run is such a play. Written in 1944 it still holds up remarkably well all these decades later and the current production at Bluffdale Arts is no exception. And to make things even better the production is a completely free gift to the community. There is no reason to not attend and have a great time together laughing at this classic play. They even give you free popcorn at intermission. It’s a no-brainer to attend.

Show closes July 1, 2024.

It’s actually a little bit difficult to describe the plot of See How They Run because it’s all rather simple but the execution that makes it so madcap. Basically it’s a case of mistaken identity where 4 people end up dressed in clerical collar suits- the actual vicar, a soldier pretending to be the vicar, a violent prisoner on the run and visiting pastor who arrives a day earlier than anticipated. Then you have a bishop who is the uncle of our leading lady, a snooty busy-body member of the congregation that gets sloshed, an incompetent maid and finally a police officer who intervenes at the last minute. Keeping up? It all works because, like any good farce should do, it starts with a normal situation and then adds a layer of improbability and then another and one more, until you have complete bedlam. One of the best lines in the play is when Humphrey says “I was perfectly sane when I entered this house.” Weren’t they all.

It’s a very wise decision when arts councils chose to do straight plays like this one. In fact, this is now the second such play from Bluffdale Arts this summer having recently put on Cash on Delivery last month. I love a musical as much as the next person but there are so many ways a musical can go wrong that it’s nice when an arts council understands its limitations (especially outside) and goes for a simple entertaining play and that’s what Bluffdale Arts provides here with See How They Run. Director Peter Johnson has kept things straightforward allowing the classic piece of theater to shine and his actors to clearly have a great time interacting together.

See How They Run is truly an ensemble project where no character stands out as a leading role. Of everyone at Bluffdale Arts my favorite is Amy Garrard as Miss Skillon. Her character is interesting because she starts out so petty and judgmental but the more she gets pushed and literally punched around you start to feel sorry for her. She is quite the sad sack of comedy by the end of it! Gerrard brings an authenticity and knack for physical comedy that works quite well.

Everyone else does a good job with the material but the actors do lean into the comedy sometimes telegraphing ahead of time when a joke will be coming with their over-the-top expressions. It might be that I’ve seen this play many times but the best comic acting comes when actors are playing it straight and crazy things happen around them but here everyone clearly knew they were in a comedy from beginning to end. It’s such a classic I was fine with it but just something they could work on.

Especially given the limitations of the Bluffdale City Park theater the set design team (Kelly Checketts, Julie Fox, and Chelsea Ottoson) have well created the vicarage where the play is set on stage. They even have a poster of Queen Victoria in the dining area that adds to the stuffy feel to the environment for all the shenanigans to take place in.

It’s hard to comment much on costumes when 4 characters wear the same black clerical suit but they all look great and some of the best jokes lie around Clive’s continually missing army outfit so that was very well done.

They have chosen to use the original script with the German prisoner as opposed to the 1946 edit with a Russian prisoner. The character behaves the same way in both but it was interesting to see the original version that audiences saw back in 1944 (and like I said, to still be laughing all these years later is incredible.)

If I was a parent I’d be looking for ways to affordably introduce my family to the arts and See How They Run at Bluffdale Arts is a tremendous opportunity. They have given us one of the masterpieces of English farce, well told, and free for all so it’s a no-brainer to attend. Such a deal can’t be beat!

Bluffdale Arts Council’s production of See How They Run plays June 21-29, and July 1, 2024 at Bluffdale City Park (2400 West 14400 South). There is no cost for these performances. Bring your chairs, blankets, friends, and family and enjoy the evening outside for a free show. Popcorn included in price of admission. There are a few chairs available at the park on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit