Cohesively directed by Rebecca Baker and attractively designed by Donald N.C. Jones and Robert Clements, the three-act “Run” centers on a flurry of mistaken identity inside the home of Reverend Lionel Toop (Josiah Hutchings, a standout in Cedarville’s marvelous “Hello, Dolly!” two months ago). Lionel’s musically inept wife Penelope (Sara Daransky), a former actress, does her best to keep her sanity intact amid the madness, but it’s a difficult task as the men around her are caught in a whirlwind of confused hilarity while dressed in priestly garb. King strangely builds the farcical essence of the piece with an awkwardly slow progression, which certainly hinders Act 1 from being a total laugh riot, but the sparks begin to fly in Act 2 and truly soar in Act 3.
In addition to Hutchings and Daransky’s admirable performances, “Run” features a strong supporting cast who sharply executes Matthew Michael Moore’s fight choreography and embraces spontaneity while avoiding the temptation to go over the top. The very charming Dylan Cimo naturally embodies the easygoing Corporal Clive Winthrop, who previously starred with Penelope in a production of “Private Lives” and longs for nothing more than his Army uniform once he’s trapped in black. Jordan Link and Eric Rasmussen are respectively and delightfully daft as the Bishop of Lax and Reverend Arthur Humphrey. Allister Littrell brings appealing menace and humor to his role as a foreign Intruder, especially in Act 3 when he humorously tries to fool everyone as Lionel while clinging to Penelope. Keely Heyl, possessing an impressive knack for physical comedy, is outstanding as tightly-wound parishioner Miss Skillon, who is continually shoved in a closet. Perfectly prim and proper at the outset yet completely disheveled toward the end, Heyl notably performs an inspired bit involving a group of coats that would make James Burrows (“Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Will & Grace”) proud. Emily Dykeman scores big laughs as Ida, Lionel and Penelope’s dutiful maid. Ben Lenox offers fine authority as Sergeant Towers in the final moments.
“Run” doesn’t race until Act 2, but serves its overall purpose as playful theatrical escapism.
See How They Run, which opened Thursday, April 7, continues through Sunday, April 17 in the DeVries Theatre of the Stevens Student Center at Cedarville University, 251 N. Main St., Cedarville. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Act One: 33 minutes; Act Two: 34 minutes; Act Three: 45 minutes. Tickets are $8-$12. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.cedarville.edu/ticketinfo