The title says it all. Ray Cooney’s farce, “Run For Your Wife”, energetically directed by Tina Polzin for the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, features philandering, mistaken identity, over-the-top characters and proves that bigamy is not just a moral and a legal issue, it’s a metaphysical issue as well: you can’t be in two places at once. The production shows how, beneath the seemingly banal existence of a suburban London Everyman, lies mayhem, slapstick, and disaster.
Up to now, John (Michael Silva) has managed to live the most extraordinary double life. He’s married to Mary (Rebekah Voss) and lives in Wimbledon. He’s also married to Barbara (Laura Buckles) and lives in Streatham. What’s extraordinary is not just that logistically that he’s managed to pull off this caper (he keeps track of what amounts to assignations in a diary; we learn it’s exactly 4-1/2 minutes from one house to the other) but that he doesn't seem like the sort of guy who would do such a thing in the first place (descriptions abound of him: he’s normal, he’s average). The two households live in middle-class comfort (as per Thomas A. Brown’s solid design). All this goes awry when he’s mugged trying to break up a robbery. At the hospital he inadvertently gives out his two addresses, after which time all hell breaks loose. He has to explain himself, not just to his two wives but to two inquisitive police officers – Troughton (Morgan Krantz) and Porterhouse (Paul Guay) – as well. Complication heaps upon complication because John’s resolved to pack lie upon lie and he horribly overestimates the ability of his upstairs neighbor Stanley (Tristan Wright), to help him out of the mess.
The production is less about the impropriety, to say the least, of bigamy and more about how one’s best-laid plans go astray. Polzin wants us to overlook the moral aspects of John’s predicament and laugh at its consequences. She succeeds swimmingly, getting us – every single audience member – to laugh non-stop at this tale of infidelity. John may be a cad but, except for that cardinal sin, the two wives seem happy, he’s a nice enough guy, even coming to the aid an old lady getting mugged. In short, he seems like a regular schlep just getting along. The cast more than ably pulled off the requisite double takes, pratfalls, and split second timing. Silva brings a perfect exasperation to his caught-in-the-act two-timer. His physical appearance, ironically, does not scream “Lothario!” and his sharp and nimble comic skills avail him well as he scrambles from one wife, one residence, and one calamity to the other. Voss and Buckles bring spirited performances to their clueless wives who physically, sexually, and temperamentally are as different as could be. Wright’s Bobby is exquisitely funny as the Sancho Panza to Silva’s Don Quixote while Krantz and Guay are so funny they could have their own spinoff: Troughton and Porterhouse are…Dead (Funny).
Performances were 8 pm, Friday & Saturday, 2 pm, Sunday. The play, alas, ran until February 13. Tickets are $15-$18. The Theatre is located at 2627 Pico Boulevard. For more info call ABC or visit www.morgan-wixson.org.