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July 24, 2012 > Theatre Review: Run for Your Wife

Theatre Review: Run for Your Wife

A mad, delicious dash

By Julie Grabowski
Photos By Dan Sparks

Broadway West dabbles in some double trouble with their presentation of the British farce "Run for Your Wife" by Ray Cooney.

John Smith is a London taxi driver who lives by a carefully orchestrated daily schedule in order to ensure domestic bliss. The code he has devised to back up his schedule has kept him in harmony with his wife Mary in Wimbledon. And with his wife Barbara in Streatham. But when John intervenes in a mugging and ends up at the hospital, his carefully constructed world begins to crack. With police detectives asking questions, the press eager for photos and a story, and a good-intentioned neighbor muddying the waters, the threat of exposure and ruin is in every telephone call and knock at the door.

While the humor of the situation is apparent from the start, the story truly springs to life with the entrance of John and Mary's upstairs neighbor Stanley Gardner, played by the excellent Conrad Cady. Cady is vibrant, engaging, and hilarious throughout with some of the best lines in the play. He clearly gives this production its shine.

John Smith is a man described as "ordinary" and, at times, Jim Woodbury's performance can be given the same adjective. Although he is at the center of the hubbub, Woodbury is a bit mild and easy to overlook. However, he does have hilarious stand-out moments, such as when he answers a telephone call with rapid fire heavy breathing, and makes an unconventional snack out of the morning paper.

James Allan as dressmaker and neighbor Bobby Franklyn sits in applaudable comic heights alongside Cady. While Bobby falls into the stereotypical gay man category (possibly because the play was written in 1983), Allan is so amusing and fun to watch that it doesn't really matter; you find yourself eager for his next appearance.

Lucy Littlewood and Cyndi Lagodzinski are solid supports as two very different, in the dark wives, holding the stage and their characters with skill and confidence. Joel Butler and Spencer Stevenson round out the cast as determined detectives; Stevenson's finest moments come in the whirlwind second act.

First time Broadway West director John Baldwin has put together a seamless production with a solid and compatible cast that is entertaining and interacts successfully. The set design is simple and efficient; one room serving as two flats, divided only by color scheme and decor, allowing an unrestrained flow between the actors and showing the tangled overlap of lives.

"Run for Your Wife" is a thoroughly amusing show that has it all: head wounds, cover stories, fake relationships, sexual inclinations, an invented child, pills, paint - your own life has never looked so simple!

Performances are held at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with three Sunday matinees at 1 p.m. on July 29, August 5, and 12. July 29 and August 5 matinees begin with a continental brunch at 12:15 p.m., and the August 12 performance will have refreshments during intermission. All refreshments are included in the ticket price.

Ticket prices are $23 general and $18 for students, seniors, and TBA members. Thursday, July 26, August 9 and 16 performances are $15 for everyone, with a bargain Thursday on August 2 when all tickets are just $10. Sunday brunch matinees and opening night are $23 for everyone.

For more information or to make reservations, call (510) 683-9218, or visit online at www.broadwaywest.org.

Run for Your Wife
July 20 - August 18
8 p.m.
Sunday matinees: 1 p.m.
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay Street, Fremont
(510) 683-9218
www.broadwaywest.org

Tickets: $10 - $23

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