Hodge Returns How They Run to West End, 29 JunDate: 28 April 2006
Douglas Hodge has a busy summer ahead of him. In May, he takes the title role in Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy Titus Andronicus (See News, 1 Mar 2006); in June, he makes his West End directing debut with his revival of Philip King’s wartime comedy See How They Run, which, following a regional tour earlier this year, transfers to the Duchess Theatre where it opens on 29 June 2006 (previews from 20 June).
In the idyllic village of Merton-cum-Middlewick, where the village inhabitants are preparing themselves for the imminent threat of Nazi invasion, resident nosy-parker and spinster, Miss Skillon, becomes convinced that her beloved vicar’s actress wife is having an affair and attempts to expose her. Add an escaped German prisoner of war, a handsome actor, the visiting Bishop of Lax, a rotund locum priest and some meddling neighbours and you have all the ingredients for a classic British comedy.
Written in 1942, See How They Run premiered in Peterborough in 1944 before touring the country three times and, still in the midst of the Second World War, transferring to the Comedy Theatre in 1945 – three doodle bugs fell on London on the play’s opening night. It’s credited as the original “English vicar” play and inspired the long-running TV comedy series Dad’s Army.
In the West End, Nancy Carroll (currently appearing in The Voysey Inheritance at the National) will star alongside her real-life husband Jo Stone-Fewings and Julie Legrand (TV’s Footballers’ Wives), who both toured with the production earlier this year. Also reprising their performances in London are Nicholas Blane, Adrian Fear, Natalie Grady and Chris MacDonnell with Nick Rowe completing the cast.
Douglas Hodge’s career as an actor has spanned TV, film and theatre. Prior to Titus Andronicus, which runs in rep at the Globe from 30 May to 6 October 2006 (previews from 20 May), he most recently appeared on the London stage playing Nathan Detroit in the current West End revival of Guys and Dolls, for which he was Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award nominated, and in the premiere of Joe Penhall’s Dumb Show at the Royal Court, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in the Evening Standard Awards. His directing credits include Dumb Waiter and Other Pieces (Oxford Playhouse), Pacha Mama’s Blessing (Almeida and Edinburgh), Victoria Station and Forest People (BBC).
See How They Run is designed by Tim Shortall, with lighting by Ben Ormerod and sound by Fergus O’Hare. It’s produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw, Nica Burns, Max Weitzenhoffer and Ian Lenagan.
The comedy is preceded at the Duchess Theatre by another production which features another acclaimed actor making his West End directing debut (See News, 24 Apr 2006) – Antony Sher’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of Breakfast with Mugabe, starring Joseph Mydell as the controversial Zimbabwean president. Following its runs in Stratford and, earlier this month, at London’s Soho Theatre, Fraser Grace’s new play will have a limited season from 3 May to 10 June 2006 at the Duchess.
- by Terri Paddock