facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

See How They Run

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 22 April 2008

By the time the visiting Bishop of Lax proclaims ‘Sergeant, arrest most of these vicars!’ there are more men of the cloth on the Duchess stage than the non-ordained. How they get there is the twisted tale told in Philip King’s classic wartime comedy See How They Run. Matthew Amer was at the Duchess last night to witness the West End directorial debut of Douglas Hodge, the busy thespian who can also be seen cooking the offspring of his enemies in Titus Andronicus as Shakespeare’s Globe this summer.

Miss Skillon, the tweed-wearing local with a nose for other people’s business, is not happy. She has visited the vicar to proclaim her upset at the pulpit being decorated for harvest festival by someone other than her. The culprit of this heinous crime is none other than Mrs Toop, the vicar’s wife, who also infringes on public decency by wearing trousers and waving at soldiers. From there, the arrival of an old friend, the vicar’s outing to play the piano, a punctured tyre, an uninhabitable hotel and a desperate flee from captivity take over to twist and turn the plot so that only half of the characters know who each other are by the end.

Though written in 1943, See How They Run had the audience of the Duchess laughing uproariously last night. Hodge has blended the outrageously funny text with glorious moments of physical theatre such as maid Ida trying to let her mistress know about the surprise in the cupboard, or visiting preacher Reverend Humphrey taking solace from an imaginary drink.

The script, though packed with humour, also takes time to make serious points. When old actor friend Lance Corporal Clive Winton is discussing his life in the forces and the boundaries he must not exceed, he drops in the line ‘In the army, there is never any reason for anything’. The play is also gloriously self-aware, not enough to be pretentious, but enough for everyone to share the joke that Winton has starred in enough plays to know that, on stage, putting on the vicar’s suit can only lead to trouble.

The ensemble cast stay the correct side of caricature with their characters. West End debutant Natalie Grady steals many of the laughs as the endearingly unceremonious Ida, while Nancy Carroll and Julie Legrand lock horns as the casual, young Mrs Toop and the uptight, traditional Skillon. West End veteran Tim Piggott-Smith is a brash and confounded Bishop of Lax.

Stepping into the Duchess is like stepping into World War II nostalgia; ushers wear warden’s uniforms, 1940s tunes play through the speakers, even the mobile phone announcement is given a period makeover. See How They Run shares all of the fun, vibrancy and spirit of the era, taking the audience back to a world of mild mannered humour that is often absent from the 21st century. br />


Sign up

Related articles

Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.