ORANGE PARK COMMUNITY THEATRE REVIEW
DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM [email protected]OPCT opened a very funny comedy with “Run For Your Wife,” written by Ray Cooney, on March 4, 2016, with additional performances scheduled through March 20 at their theatre on Moody Road in Orange Park, Florida.
OPCT is the unofficial home of farce on our local stages. Their loyal patrons love this type of humor, and expect to see at least one farce produced every season. Farces start with plausible premises and build to a fever pitch of delirium in which the world has gone into outrageous and preposterous madness, and they’re filled with physical comedy. “Run For Your Wife” has all that, and under the direction of Vicki Lowe, the show has a relentless razzle-dazzle with an anything-for-a-laugh spirit. You’ll love it.
The story is that of a day in the life of John Smith, a London cab driver. As brilliantly played by Stephen Lowe, Mr. Smith seems like a nice man, soft-spoken and somewhat timid. But he has a secret. He is a bigamist with two wives. He has two homes, one in the district of Wimbledon where he lives with Mary, the other in the nearby district of Streatham, where he lives with Barbara. Mary thinks he works days, Barbara thinks he works nights. With careful scheduling and split-second timing, he has managed to deceive both of them as he shuttles between his job and the two homes.
Everything changes when Smith intercedes to rescue a woman attacked by would-be thieves. His heroic efforts are successful, but during the struggle, he receives a blow to the head which results in a concussion and requires a hospital visit. His intricate schedule is disrupted and both wives call the police to report their missing husband. Because Smith was groggy when hospital staff asked where he lived, the hospital has two addresses for him. Detective Troughton (Carter Cheatum) is dispatched to one address and Detective Porterhouse (Ray Carignan) is dispatched to the other, along with a newspaper photographer (Gregory BarnesGregory Barnes). Complications ensue.
Mr. Smith, in a jam and seeking help, reveals the entanglements of his double life to his neighbor Stanley, and Stan Mesnick playing this role suddenly becomes a major player in this show. Just a note about Mr. Mesnick. He is truly a veteran of theatre, with over 160 productions. At age 81, Stan is an amazing performer, always line perfect, and truly a funny funny guy. He is an actor’s actor and rightly admired by his theatrical co-workers and audiences alike as he always delivers the goods. Stan is threatening to retire after “Run For Your Wife,” so be sure to see this show just in case he decides to follow up.
Meanwhile, back at Barbara’s house, another neighbor has come into the picture. Bobby Franklyn is a gay cross-dresser and a wild man who loves to paint things red. George Hawkins, who played the role of Dim Bulb in OPTC’s “Insane with Power,” adds another truly zany role to his resume.
The two wives are portrayed by two terrific attractive actresses, with Aimee Low as Mary and Amy Scherer as Barbara. You have to admire this cabbie’s choice of wives; they are both loving and spirited. As usual, all issues are resolved at the end; we will leave the details for you to discover.
Director Lowe has the humor rolling off the stage in generous waves of joy. There is no language but the script has some short references to homosexuality. It is basically chuckle-worthy theatrical silliness that is thoroughly clever and delivered at a fast pace, so fasten your seat belts.
All the actors have British accents which evoke the setting, but are easy to understand. The set design by Vicki Lowe is interesting, as the left side of the stage is Barbara’s house, the right is Mary’s, and the audience can see actors in both simultaneously.
The Production Crew included: Director, Vicki Lowe; Producer, Aimee Low; Stage Manager, Gregory Barnes; Assistant Stage Manager, Ashleigh Lowe; Set Decoration, Irene Cheatum; Lights and Sound, Daniel and Connie Senkowski.
This farce ran for nine years in London and even made it to Broadway. It is one of the best. See “Run For Your Wife” and you will find yourself laughing throughout. For reservations and additional information, call 904-276-2599 or visit www.opct.info.