It’s quite astonishing how fun, witty, clever and relevant “Run for Your Wife” is, considering playwright Ray Cooney wrote this play in 1990, two decades ago! Since then, this comedic play has enjoyed the longest run (nine years) on London’s West End, and is among the most popular pieces from Samuel French’s play list that community theaters present nationwide. Currently at the Morgan Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, this amusing farce on one marriage, two wives, mistaken identities, female/male pursuits and “for better or worse” is quite apropos and timely for Los Angeles 2010, especially with the recent huge popularity of HBO’s “Big Love.”
Cooney, well known for his hilarious satirical farces, combines traditional British bawdiness as he explores the theme of one man, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary love life. In this case, John Smith (played by Michael Silva) connives his way out of his unraveling predicament, while enjoying his wife-sharing lifestyle. His easy banter with actor Tristan Wright, who plays close friend Stanley Gardner, has well choreographed nuances and flows at a natural pace.
The humorous antics and shenanigans of the colorful personalities on stage, whose lives intertwine, brings a laugh a minute, and is quite influenced by the brilliant works of British humorists Peter Shaffer (“Black Comedy”) and Georges Feydeau (“A Flea in Her Ear”).
The “wives,” Barbara Smith and Mary Smith, are played, respectively, by Laura Buckles and Rebekah Voss, whose feminine presence, among a male-centric cast, bring sex appeal and charm. Justin Wade, as Bobby, the neighbor upstairs, a flamboyant, dashing drag queen, makes a grand entrance, drawing contagious laughter from the audience and his interactions and interventions with the family do indeed save the day.
“Run for Your Wife” is a free-spirited, daring portrayal of the “multi-marital bang,” and its eloquent diction, charming rapport and romps between the sexes receive much applause and ovation. The play combines the perils and pleasures of marriages, mistaken personas and mishaps, a true flight of fancy, sure to satisfy a weekend afternoon or evening.
“Run for Your Wife” plays at The Morgan Wixson Theatre (2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA) Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm (Sundays at 2pm) now through February 13, 2010. For more information, call (310) 828-7519 or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.