Philip King’s classic wartime farce See How They Run returned to the West End last night (29 June 2006, previews from 20 June) in a production at the Duchess Theatre directed by actor-director Douglas Hodge, juggling his time with his current onstage duties in the Globe’s Titus Andronicus (See News, 28 Apr 2006).

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.

TO VIEW SEE HOW THEY RUN OPENING NIGHT TV FOOTAGE, JUST CLICK
ON THE "PLAY" ARROW > BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THE TV SCREEN BELOW.

In the West End, Nancy Carroll appears alongside her real-life husband Jo Stone-Fewings (the couple’s dog Digby also makes a cameo onstage appearance) in a cast that also includes Tim Pigott-Smith, Julie Legrand, Nicholas Blane, Adrian Fear, Natalie Grady, Chris MacDonnell and Nicholas Rowe. 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.

For Whatsonstage.com TV, we attended the curtain call and post-show party at the Duchess Theatre to hear what theatregoers (not least a real vicar!), the show’s cast, director Douglas Hodge and producer Matthew Byam Shaw as well as guests including Sheila Hancock and director Laurence Boswell had to say on opening night.

- by Terri Paddock