By Ray Cooney
Directed by Kyle Ennis Turoff
Golden Apple Dinner Theatre
25 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota,
941-366-5454; 800-652-0920
In repertory October 6 through November 27, 2009

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

Until a heroic episode in which he was hurt on the job, John Smith (likeable Ernest Weldon) drove in a taxi-driver's paradise between two greater London homes. His schedule allowed him to keep sweet wife Mary (Leigh Anne Wuest) in the dark about his sexy other wife Barbara (Heidi Davis), equally deceived. Thrown off course into a hospital, then late for his usual stay in one of his homes, finally photographed for the front page of a paper serving both areas, John begins a comical cover-up. We see it unfold in Michael Newton-Brown's brightly lit double-edged set of yellow on one side, light green on the other, which the principals criss-cross through living rooms, into bedrooms and kitchens, oblivious to one another. A phone on each side of a centrally place couch aids in confusion. To director Kyle Ennis Turoff's credit, all the moves and calls seem as normal as the abnormal situations and layout permit.

John enlists neighbor Stanley Gardner (authentic Brit Cliff Roles, acting beautifully beleaguered) to help him keep both wives in the dark. Most of the laughs come from Stanley's assuming silly identities, mostly based on his last name. Detectives (Brian E. Nichols and Berry Ayers) from each of Smith's districts add to his anguish by investigating the conflicting addresses he gave in hospital and police reports.  Unfortunately, a substantial amount of the play's farcical elements involve making fun of homosexuality, often in too exaggerated ways. Barbara and John's upstairs neighbor and flaming homosexual Bobby (Eric Gregory, unashamed in such a silly role) is no longer as funny as he was when Ray Cooney created him in 1983.  We are also now rather far removed from the consideration in the U.K. of consensual homosexual activity as a crime. In fact, the basic idea of having to marry two women at the same time seems dated today.

If we settle on outlandish farcical activity, comedy of mistaken identities, an over the top love triangle, and wacky second bananas, a two-hour stay in the audience provides a nice recess from the recession outside the Apple.  Run for Your Wife can serve also as an introduction to or refresher for attending a sequel,  Caught in the Net, to be presented in revolving rep, starting October 13 in the same theatre.

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