Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Run for Your Wife"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2002 by Tony Annicone

"Run for Your Wife"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at The Granite Theatre is the hilarious British farce, "Run For Your Wife". A taxi driver gets away with having two wives in different areas of London because of his irregular working schedule. The hilarity arises from watching him try to keep his double life from exploding. Add two neighbors from the different homes, two policemen and an overeager photographer from UPI to this mix and you have one of the best productions of this crazy farce about mistaken identity, name calling and sexual innuendoes around.

Director David Jepson casts this show perfectly. These 8 madcap performers keep you laughing almost all night long with their excellent pacing and delivery of lines. The gorgeous unit set created by David, depicts the two separate homes by using flats painted in pink and green. He also distinguishes where the action is taking place by the use of lighting changes, too. David does an excellent job on this frenetic farce, making it the highlight of this summer season.

The devious but lovable cab driver, John Smith, is played brilliantly by Keith Eugene Brayne. His delivery of lines and facial expressions are reminiscent of Stan Laurel. His reactions with the two wives and the whole cast are fantastic, as he makes up lie after lie on the spot trying to fool everyone. Keith has many funny scenes in this show but the funniest, is when he eats a newspaper on stage. (How he ever put so much paper in his mouth without choking, I will never know.) The strength of his characterization never lags to let anyone steal the show away from him. Bravo.

The two deceived wives, Mary and Barbara, are played wonderfully by Courtney Leivers and Michelle Johnson. The opening pantomiming is expertly done while they pace and worry about their missing husband. They handle their dialogue in the same manner. Courtney, a statuesque blonde, plays the more frantic wife who finally loses her cool after she swallows some pills to calm her down. She begins to swear and call people names. Courtney handles her role with ease, getting many laughs while doing it. Michelle, a pretty brunette, plays the sexy wife in a black teddy who waits to have a hot time with her husband. Her reactions at the crazy antics of her husband and the tres gay neighbor from upstairs are comical as is when she finds out John told Mary she is a transvestite called Lofty and he lies by saying Mary is a nun, looking for charitable donations. Both women maintain their accents throughout the show while delivering their humorous lines.

The two straight laced detectives are played by Paul Lavallee and Greg Bliven. Paul's reactions at the crazy situations around him are handled very well. When he discovers John in both homes and is told that John and Stanley are gay, he calls them pansies making it a laugh out loud moment. Greg's befuddled cop is hysterical, too. He misunderstands the situation between husband and wife, sharing with them his pet name for his wife. (The pet name is gruesome and his wife's pet name for him is Pussy because he is as cuddly as a kitten.) The name calling and reactions are beautiful.

Two of the actors who almost steal this show are the two neighbors played by Brian Olsen and Chris Mahn. Both of them enter their first scenes gangbuster style leaving you with their imprint as powerhouse comedians. Brian plays the helpful upstairs neighbor, Stanley who only wants to help John out but becomes deeply entangled in his web of lies. When he is accused of being John Smith and of being gay, his reactions and line delivery are poetry in motion. His many pratfalls are handled with precision, too. Chris plays the flaming queen, Bobby, perfectly. He prances in and out of the place with the right movements with mincing and cloying leers and looks that leave you in stiches. Great farcical performances by one and all.

Last but not least is the opening night caterer, Lorain Simister who does double duty at the Granite by appearing in the small role of UPI reporter who take John and Mary's photo, blowing his cover. She tackles this role with the same energy, she displays in her gourmet cooking. Lorain and her assistant, Kim Jones prepared the British delicacies of the night with such assorted goodies as pineapple chutney, John's quickie quiche, curry mayo, headbangers, (mashed potatoes and sausage) marinated artichoke butter, curry mango, sundried tomato cheese ball, mango and garlic cheese ball and for dessert, a scrummy torte loaded with brandy. Kim's delicious apricot and chocolate candies disappeared very quickly, too. To sample any of these treats call Lorain at Lor Concierge at 401-596-9685.

So for one of the best shows around this summer, be sure to catch, "Run For Your Wife", you will laugh from start to finish. Tell them Tony sent you.

1 (401)

"Run for Your Wife" (till 14 July)
THE GRANITE THEATRE
1 Granite Street, WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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