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‘Run for Your Wife’ is a riotous, adult farce

Candy Williams
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Kelsy Black of Forest Hills, Mike Crosby of Greensburg and Allison Riddle of Mount Pleasant rehearse a scene from “Run for your Wife.”
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The cast of “Run for your Wife,” a Greensburg Civic Theatre production Feb. 7-9 at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

Veteran actor Mike Crosby of Greensburg says his character in Greensburg Civic Theatre’s production of “Run for Your Wife,” London taxi driver John Smith, prides himself on being incredibly organized.

“His entire life is scheduled down to the minute, which is the only way he can be married to two women, maintain two homes and keep his separate lives separate,” Crosby says.

No wonder Mr. Smith is so wonderfully efficient.

It all catches up to him eventually, even though the fact that his two wives live in two different areas of London might give him some wiggle room, since London is a pretty big city.

“Yes, he gets away with it for some time because of his irregular work schedule,” says Barbara Rolla of Hempfield, director of the show running Feb. 7-9 at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

The party’s over

“But the jig is up when he winds up in hospital, unknowingly tips off the authorities to his personal scam, screws up his delicate schedule, drops the ball and otherwise sets in motion the riotous comedy that unfolds.”

Ray Cooney’s 1983 classic British farce is just that – a classic, like most farces that have an unbelievable premise with the potential to go terribly wrong, which in most cases, it does.

“’Run for your Wife’ is a fun, quick-witted show that hearkens back to the 1930s screwball comedies,” says Kelsy Black of Forest Hills, who plays Mary Smith, one of the uninformed spouses.

She says the funniest part of the show is with its pacing.

“It’s very fast-paced and slapstick. Also, Mike Crosby as John Smith is hilarious. His delivery adds so much humor,” she says.

Witty writing style

Crosby says the 1983 adult comedy by Ray Cooney is a success because of the playwright’s witty style.

“It is fast, funny, and the jokes are piled on top of each other. The plot is so absurd, so unbelievable that you can’t help but laugh about the situations the characters find themselves in,” he says. “When John’s meticulous planning goes awry and his lives come crashing together, the comedy is so quick and so over the top that audiences will barely have time to breathe.”

Rolla says she loves directing farces because they are very entertaining – not only because of the way they are written, but because they incorporate physical comedy.

In the case of “Run for Your Wife,” “it makes use of highly exaggerated and funny situations aimed at entertaining the audience. The characters are stereotypical characters that use extravagant exertion and horseplay to carry out the story,” she says.

GCT’s eight-person cast is a remarkable ensemble, the director says.

“They’re genuinely responsive in the moment – in every moment that comes lightning fast with new obstacles – and work together like magic,” she says.

Not for kids

Rolla said this show is not appropriate for ages 16 and under.

“It’s the perfect Valentine date,” adds Black. “Plus, when you support local theater, you are supporting your community.”

The cast also includes Allison Riddle and Matt Tracy of Mt. Pleasant, Craig Soich of Murrysville, Josh Kinneer of Donegal, Adam Wainwright of Pittsburgh and Russell Heeschen of Greensburg.

Rolla has co-directed and choreographed 10 musical theater productions for Mt. Pleasant Area Senior High School. She also has performed in community theater shows for Apple Hill Playhouse, Split Stage Productions, Kelly Simon Productions and Geyer Theater, Scottdale.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review
contributing writer.