Warwick Davis's Big Night Out, TV Review: Reduced Height Theatre Company prove Willow actor's Big Idea

Troupe's talent shines through

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The Independent Culture

Forget Russell Brand's abstract "revolution", there's another agitator in town.

Actor Warwick Davis is a man with a vision: short performers, meaning those with dwarfism, should be on the West End and Broadway – if they have the talent. They should not be confined to regional pantos, often playing versions of themselves. "It's about being able to get on stage and do a play that I love, to do the very best," said Davis in this insightful Modern Times instalment.

His Big Idea was to put his hands in his own pockets – and the family home at risk – to form the Reduced Height Theatre Company, casting only short actors in all roles. The film charted the progress of the team putting on their first play, the classic farce, See How They Run, performed on a scaled-down set.

We followed the ensemble from first auditions to opening night in this beautifully shot film by the Ursula Macfarlane. She let the actors and Davis's family tell their stories in the photogenic places they loved – Davis and wife, Sam, walking their dog in the countryside, actor Jon Key in the swimming pool where growing up he felt "the same as everybody else", and young actress Francesca Mills in a dance class at her performing arts college. Davis's family, all with forms of dwarfism, shared his can-do attitude, even in the face of wife Sam's serious spinal surgery.

"The world isn't going to change for us, we've just got to deal with it," said equally glass-half-full Mills. "The main aim is that within five minutes of the audience watching the play, they forget that we're little," she said. And we did. The actors we met didn't need Warwick's company, their lives were rich anyway. But the play, and Macfarlane's film, gave them a deserved chance to shine.

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