'Run' teaches lesson in grand British tradition

By Mia Proli Gable

Arizona Daily Wildcat

From a very young age, people learn the dangers of telling lies how one lie told to cover up another usually becomes worse than telling the truth in the first place. Once this cover up starts, the lies snowball until a gigantic snowman could be built from one original snowflake. What could have melted away easily becomes something that only a spring thaw could dissolve.

But what does this have to do with theater? The stage is an awesome forum for exploring moral dilemmas and the lie-telling lesson is exposed to its funniest, and most bizarre, in Serendipity Playhouse's production of the English comedy, Run For Your Wife.

Flitting between Wimbeldon and Stratham, "like a horny bumblebee," is how taxi-driver John Smith (David Walker) lives his life. He has two wives.

Smith's bigamy is under control and carefully executed by following a strict schedule, that is until he is hit with a handbag one night while trying to rescue an elderly woman from being mugged. After accidentally giving the police and the hospital two different addresses and trying to appease two worried wives, he attempts to cover up his crime with outrageous lies. Of course, the lies build up until he has to pass one wife off as a transvestite named "Lofty" and the other as a nun.

Despite faulty British accents, the cast of Run For Your Wife delivers an outrageously funny performance. Playwright Ray Cooney's script is wacky, but almost believable, perhaps because it contains such insight into human behavior. Though bigamy is illegal and rare, John Smith's reaction to being caught in a lie is not.

What makes this whole situation partially believable are the performances of the Smith family. Mary (Maggie Grant) and Barbara (Shari Goddard) are both a little too trusting of their husband, and Walker's Smith seems so simple that it is not hard to believe that these two women would have no clue as to what is really going on.

The clues start add adding up, and the wives begin to realize that something's got to be wrong with a man who has a head injury and would rather work then stay home in bed and be pampered by his wife, or who eats the evening newspaper.

Run For Your Wife is not only entertaining, it also teaches the lesson of what happens when lies are used to cover up lies.

Serendipity Playhouse's production of Run For Your Wife plays through May 6 with student discounts available. For reservations and information call 751-4445.

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