Bravo! Yet another great review for SEE HOW THEY RUN!

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Run, or go as fast as you can to get your tickets for “See How They Run,” the funny, funny British comedy that is the current production of the Plaza Theatre Company in Cleburne.

The play (which is called a farce), Plaza’s 60th since it opened in April 2007, once again features the familiar PTC staples of outstanding direction, clever sets and good acting — but this time delivered by some unfamiliar faces making their first or second appearances on the PTC stage.

Erica Maroney as Ida, the maid, Joy Millard, as lead character Penelope Toop, and David Goza, as U.S. soldier Clive Winton, are each a hit in their PTC debut, while Robert Shores, as Rev. Lionel Toop, and Steven Lindsay, as the Bishop of Lax,perform at the PTC for the second time. It’s actually the third time for Joshua resident Lindsay, if you count both times he played Scrooge in PTC’s last two presentations of “A Christmas Carol.” Here’s hoping he returns again.

There are others in cast who will be readily recognized by PTC regulars, such as Stacey Blanton and Milette Siler, double-cast in the role of Miss Skillon, the church-going busy body; Kevin Poole as the escaped prisoner called The Intruder; John Lewis as local policeman Sgt. Towers; and PTC cofounder G. Aaron Siler, who puts his best sight-gag timing into the role of Rev. Arthur Humphrey.

If your seated in the entrance-end of the 160-seat theater-in-the-round, watch Siler’s farcical facial expressions as he contemplates what it is that Goza, Lindsay and Shores are jumping over as they chase each other around the living room in one of the multiple slap-stick scenes that combine physical comedy with the play’s plethora of humorous lines.

The action takes place in 1943 in the vicarage at the fictitious village of Merton-cum-Middlewick just as Great Britain is entering World  War II. Penelope Toop (Millard) is a former actress who is now wife of the local vicar, Lionel Toop (Shores). Skillon, the church gossip, arrives to complain to the vicar about his wife’s behavior, specifically that she wears slacks and waves at American soldiers who pass by in Jeeps. The vicar leaves for the night and an old friend of Penelope’s, Winton (Burleson High School teacher Goza) stops by on a quick visit. Turns out he was one of the soldiers she was waving at and they are old friends who appeared together as actors in many plays.

When Penelope and Winton decide to have dinner and see a play, he must change from his Army uniform into other clothes to prevent from being seen by his Army superiors. Penelope suggests he change into one of her husband’s clerical suits, including the clerical collar,  and pretend to be vicar Arthur Humphrey (Siler) who is scheduled to visit the next day to preach the sermon.

Reliving old times before they leave, Penelope and Winton re-enact a scene from one of their former plays, which requires them to wrestle to the floor with her about to hit him. Just at that moment, Skillon enters unannounced and gets hit instead and knocked out.

The result is side-splitting chaos.

A farce requires split-second timing and lots of physical comedy, and this PTC group pulls it off with precision. When one character disappears behind one door, another character appears from a different door, when one character faints, another suddenly appears to catch him or her.

Millard has the voice and energy to make you believe she was a former actress. Goza also has lots of energy and both hit all their marks for the physical comedy that isn’t funny unless done at precisely the right moment.

This may be Maroney’s PTC debut, but she will quickly become a crowd favorite. Her reactions to the American soldier as she becomes infatuated with him are funny.
Blanton and PTC cofounder Milette Siler bring just the right “over -the-top” presence to the busy-body Skillon that adds to her already funny lines and physical silliness.

Shores, who was last seen at the PTC in last year’s “The Foreigner,” manages to keep somewhat sane as his world is falling apart right in his living room. His timing hits the nail on the head every time. PTC regulars knew Lindsay is good from “Carol,” and now we know he can do physical comedy, too. Poole, The Intruder, strikes the right balance between menacing and bewilderment, while Lewis, the local cop, hits the right note of puzzlement while trying to sort out who is who, finally arresting the right imposter.

And G. Aaron Siler is just what PTC regulars expect. Whether it’s his Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Buffalo Bill in “Annie Get Your Gun,” or Humphrey in this one, he always delivers a quality performance. And kudos, too, to director Ben Phillips for somehow turning what appears to be mayhem into magic.

Written by Philip King, with stage management by Cessany Ford, assisted by Jesica Valadez, costume design by Stacey Greenawalt King, sound and light design by G. Aaron Siler (how does he do it all?), set design by JaceSon Barrus and property design by Tammie Phillips, “See How They Run,” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 26 at the Plaza Theatre, 111. S. Main St., in Cleburne.

Tickets — $15 for adults, $14 for seniors age 65 and older, high school and college students, and $13 for children age 12 and under — can be purchased from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday -Thursday at the box office (817-202-0600) or online at http://www.plaza-theatre.com.

Treat yourself. See it.

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