Taproot Offers Up Some Mid-Winter Hilarity

Taproot opens their 46th year as a theatre company with a no-holds-barred romp that was initially planned to go up back in 2020, but now serves as a welcome balm for our pandemic weary times.  Director Karen Lund has a simple goal with her production of “See How They Run”:  Just Laugh! Playwright Philip King premiered his show amidst the darkest days of WWII, right in the middle of a London Blitz in 1945.  His script plays with a stuffed closet full of staged gags to keep the story zigging and zagging towards its riotous outcome.  If a particular joke misses a tad, no problem…another bit is waiting just around the corner.  The result is a night of fast moving theater, as light as a tickling feather.

The best reason to catch this comedy is the wonderfully talented cast Taproot has assembled here.  Shanna Allman portrays the snooty Miss Skillon visiting the Vicarage of Lionel and Penelope Toop to register some petty complaints regarding a poorly decorated church pulpit. Miss Skillon finds the free spirited Penelope (the charming Miranda Antoinette) sorely lacking in decorum on many fronts and is not shy about airing her grievances to the often-flustered Vicar.  As the evening wears on, Miss Skillon must endure a bevy of misfortunes ranging from experiencing a punctured bike tire to being continually knocked unconscious.  Allman’s stage acrobatics can put Gumby to shame!  I have never seen one actress assume so many outlandish body contortions in one show.  She is a flat out delight.

Calder Jameson Shilling shines as the put-upon Vicar.  He must spend a great deal of time in his underwear, running in and out of his closet chasing and being chased by a variety of antagonists.  James Schilling aces his role as the charming American Corporal stopping by to visit his old pal Penelope.  Nathaniel Tenenbaum portrays the befuddled Bishop of Lax and is able to work himself into a storming lather at the drop of a hat.

The plot?  Well that’s sort of beside the point.  It is as if the Marx Brothers sailed the seas to inhabit the stately environs of the Vicarage at Merton-cum-Middlewick, England.  Suffice it to say there are plenty of slamming doors, disappearing clothes, secret trysts in closets, confused identities (at one point there may be four different characters pretending to be the Vicar), a Russian spy, a number of chases through the garden, and a batch of knock out punches.  Fight director Ian Bond must have been one busy guy during rehearsals.  It is a real treat to see this skilled cast give their all to enliven this goofy play.  Indeed, live theater is back in Greenwood, and it has returned with a bang!

“See How They Run” will play through March 5 at the Taproot Theatre, 204 N 85th Street, in the heart of Greenwood. For more ticket information call 206-781-9707 or go to taproottheatre.org. The troop will be offering a Stream On-Demand viewing option beginning February 19.

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