Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Run for Your Wife"

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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Run for Your Wife"

A Review by Tony Annicone

Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre's summer show is Ray Cooney's British farce, "Run for Your Wife". The show takes place in two different homes in different parts of London. Cab driver, John Smith is a bigamist who has been injured and is taken home to his wife, Mary in Wimbledon by Detective Sergeant Troughton while his second wife, Barbara waits for him in their second home in Streatham. Add two upstairs neighbors from his different homes, Stanley and Bobby, another policeman, Detective Sergeant Porterhouse and a pushy newspaper photographer to the mix and you have the ingredients for all the crazy mistaken identity, sexual innuendoes and name calling antics that follow.Director Lee Rush infuses her cast with the high energy to pull off this madcap, rib tickling farce, winning her topnotch cast a thunderous ovation at the close of the performance.

Lee keeps the show in constant motion and gives her cast many clever bits of shtick to perform. Her pacing of the scenes is terrific. Keith Brayne is a whirling dervish in the demanding lead role of John Smith. He is in constant motion running on and off stage continuously. As John Smith, he is constantly thinking up new lies to cover his tracks, meeting every situation head on to keep them from finding out he is a bigamist. Keith's many comic moments include eating a newspaper with his photo in it, jumping into Stanley's arms after being startled and spitting out his tea upon receiving some shocking information. He excels in comic roles and this is one more feather in hit cap, delivering a splendid performance in this enormous role.

Playing the two wives wonderfully are Anna Convery and Danielle Conti. Anna is a beautiful brunette who plays the befuddled Mary. She is constantly fed made up lines by the other characters trying to cover up John Smith's illicit behavior. Some of her funniest moments occur after she pops some pills and starts swearing up a storm and calling people names especially when she thinks Barbara is a transvestite called Lofty. Also comic is when she continually hits Stanley with her purse and the newspaper. Danielle is also a pretty brunette who wears a low cut negligee. John tells her that Mary is a nun and Stanley is a farmer. He also says that she wants to have sex with her husband in their bedroom. Danielle has many funny scenes with their tres gay neighbor, Bobby. She slams doors constantly when she gets aggravated by her husband's wild antics.

Brian Olsen plays the hilarious Stanley who tries to help John out by fabricating some tall tales himself. Stanley tells the cops that he is John Smith and that Stanley is his son. This complicates things by leading John into telling Troughton that they are gay lovers so he won't find out that he is married to two women.Brian has many funny one liners in this show and makes each of them count. He steals many scenes with his brilliant portrayal.John Lamar is a hoot as Bobby. His portrayal as this gay neighbor is hysterical from start to finish. John flits in and out of each scene, prancing about and displaying gay movements at all times. He is clad in a pink outfit that to be seen to be believed.

The two detectives are played by Stephen Spartano and Gregory Bliven. Steve's inquisitive Sgt. Troughton finds out that John Smith is the same person and wonders why he lied. He gets more than he bargained for with John's deception as a gay man. He commands the stage in this role with his authority figure vocal prowess. Sgt. Porterhouse is more gullible and he tells them his pet name for his wife is Gruesome while his nickname is Pussy because he purrs like a cat during sex. Both of them are quite funny in these two roles. Rounding out the cast is John Lamar who also plays the newspaper photographer who demands to take a photo of John and Mary which leads John into his attempted cover up of the proceedings. So for a nonstop laugh a minute British farce, be sure to catch "Run for You Wife" in Westerly. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Run for Your Wife" (25 July - 24 August)
@ 1 Granite Street, WESTERLY RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide