Volume 92, Issue 48
Friday, November 27, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Premiere play a wife juggler
By Serena Leyes
Run For Your Wife is a chaotic comedy which exhibits a male's greatest fantasy, turned into a nightmare.
John Smith, played convincingly by David Semple, is the average man, with the average job, looks and home. In fact his life appears ordinary, except for one minor detail he leads two separate lives under one identity.
This taxi driver from London, England complicated his life by marrying two women and trying to satisfy them both. The play becomes a confusion of crazy lies and close calls, keeping the audience attentively watching for the slightest slip amongst the chaos.
Heather Wilton plays Smith's first wife, Mary, with ease. She manages to encompass and execute the role of the oblivious wife turned hysterical maniac without overdoing her character.
Sue Maithe plays Barbara, a sex-crazed control freak. Though she is a convincing dominator, at times she seems inhibited and unable to fully capture her character's emotions. Sam Shoebottom steals the show as Stanley Gardener, the comical neighbour whose main objective in life is to milk money from the government.
The plot of Run For Your Wife is imaginative, with many unexpected twists. In attempting to cover his tracks from one life to the other, Stanley and John manage to create three or four varying false lives. The other characters, such as Det. Sgt. Troughton (Gene Merkely) and Det. Sgt. Porterhouse (Peter Hammond) add to the already progressing ripple effect of white lies by mixing stories between addresses and wives.
Bobby, a "queen" played by Aaron Fallowfield, is John and Barbara's neighbour who adds yet another layer to the fallacy created. Although his character is blatantly stereotyped, he is not unbelievable. In the end, however, the truth and fraudulence are indistinguishable.
The set is divided to create the impression of two flats, with two different coloured walls, night tables and telephones. There are many times when both scenes would overlap and an actor from one flat crossed over the centre line into the other flat, though apparently still at the separate address. This adds to the chaos and intricacy of the play.
Though the acting was well done, there was an inconsistency between it and the script. As the play was based in London England, the script was written in British dialect, using such phrases as "bloody hell" and "bloke." The characters, however, perform the script with Canadian accents, thus weakening the authenticity of the characters' words and hurting the overall presentation.
The play itself is fun and fast paced, while constantly keeping the audience speculating on the outcome. Though justice is never conventionally reached, the conclusion is ironic, tying together the irony and humour of the entire performance.
Run For Your Wife is playing at the Old Factory Theatre, 140 Ann Street, until Dec. 31.
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