Rolling in the aisles, and on the Richmond Theatre stage, with Warwick Davis and cast

Great fun: Still time to catch the play at Richmond Theatre

Great fun: Still time to catch the play at Richmond Theatre

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

After more than 30 years in showbiz, Warwick Davis made his stage debut in his own production of Philip King’s See How They Run.

And it was certainly worth the wait as the man, famous for Hollywood appearances, slipped seamlessly into the chaotic world of the classic English farce.

Davis plays Lionel Toop, the unassuming reverend at the plot’s centre, who is married to the footloose former actress Penelope (Rachel Denning).

Like most farces, the clichés come at a rapid pace, with swinging doors, mistaken identity and misunderstanding clearly order of the play.

An escaped German prisoner of war (Raymond Griffiths) causes much confusion, as does the usually-prim-and-proper-but-now-totally-squiffy Miss Skillon's (Francesca Papagno) antics.

Francesca Mills shines as Ida the maid, providing some genuinely genius moments of physical humour throughout.

But for me, Phil Holden, playing Lance-Corporal Clive Winton, is the highlight, playing his soldier’s role with a middle class tone not too far from the great John Le Mesurier in Dad’s Army.

Made up of actors entirely from Davis’s Reduced Height Theatre Company, the former Harry Potter star has tapped into a pool of unfairly underrated talent.

It would have been easy for Davis to thrust himself into the spotlight more but his intentions are understandable and, to be honest, it matters not.

It is not the perfect farce and it is typically clichéd but it is undoubtedly a storming debut from Davis and his company, with much more to come in the future one hopes.

Lastly, a special mention must be reserved for Peter Bonner, playing Sergeant Towers, who ran out of puff during one piece of dialogue and descended into a half-coughing, half-laughing fit.

He was joined by Davis and Denning in “corpsing” which only added to the chaotic nature of the play, much to the audience’s appreciation.

See How They Run is at Richmond Theatre until Saturday, March 29. For tickets and details, visit atgtickets.com/venues/richmond-theatre.

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