Run for Your Wife
11th September 2014
Type of Production
Author: Ian Goodenough
Ray Cooney’s eighties farce about a taxi driver living a double life is still drawing laughs from audiences and even made it onto the big screen in 2012, directed by the author himself. For two hours this evening, HATS’ production certainly had their audience’s funny bones well exercised!
The cast managed to keep the pace of the dialogue up well, which is crucial in this kind of comedy and all credit goes to the director for rehearsing his cast so thoroughly. In particular during the second act, as the chaos escalates, the cast kept moving the dialogue on on quickly, so we were never left with any dragging moments.
My first impression upon curtain up was the fantastic set. Well designed, with multiple entrances and a raised level, this symmetrical set was key in the director’s plan to utilise the same living room setup for both locations - often at the same time. This took just a short while to get used to and was a great theatrical mechanism. Both wives sitting side-by-side on the sofa immersed in their own conversations in their respective homes worked very well and added to the central theme of two lives merging into one.
The cast worked well together. The misled wives painting the picture of two different women, each descending into the madness John has unleashed upon them. The two detectives also delivered differing characters, one serious and determined (with very good timing), while the other was more laid back and blended into the conspiracy of confusion very quickly (nice apron!)! Clichéd camp was served by the screamingly pink Bobby, to the delight of the audience, while one of the main culprits for chaos was Stanley - played in a loud and ‘bullish’ fashion that tore through John Smith’s fragile web of deceit, with great success!
But no array of ‘extreme’ characters is complete without their “straight-man” to play against and theirs was excellent. The mastermind at the centre of the tightest schedule known to man, John Smith. He was played brilliantly with a realistic style that made him completely believable. I often judge the success of a performance on whether I feel the actor is playing someone real, or whether they’re just reciting lines in a funny voice. Top marks John Smith!
If I had to level any negatives it would be that the dialogue seemed a bit out of place in the modern setting and if the scene had been more overtly set in its early eighties writing period (or earlier), it may have seemed less awkward. But this (and the technical issues with mics) are just tiny things in a production that was, overall, very enjoyable.
Congratulations to the cast, crew and director. Another winner!