Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Farce still fresh the third time

To paraphrase the old saying, "Third time's a charmer."

That's the deal as Richey Suncoast Theatre fields the Ray Cooney farce Run for Your Wife for its third outing in the area in recent years — and still makes it fresh and funny.

The show was quite well done at Richey Suncoast in 1993 and at Stage West Community Playhouse in 2002, but director Bryan Sarabia and his cast have put enough new spin on the show to make it enjoyable even for those of us who had seen the previous two.

Most noticeable, Sarabia moved the setting from Cooney's London to apartments in New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs, with events happening at Community Hospital and along U.S. 19, people reading the St. Petersburg Times and, perhaps most important, no actor having to struggle to maintain a British accent.

As a result, a situation that can be difficult to follow when it's set in London can be easily tracked (and a lot of fun) when it's transported to local neighborhoods and mentions familiar landmarks.

It also helps that Sarabia's cast comprises seven of the area's best and favorite character actors — many of them Tommy Award winners — plus an eighth who adapts beautifully to the zanies around her.

In the lead is the adoringly discombobulated Bob Marcela (Horace in Hello, Dolly) as John Smith, a nondescript taxi driver who leads a most daring life.

It turns out that for years, John has been sedately married to the very traditional Mary (Joanne Larson, Mrs. Bell in Fame) in New Port Richey, while at the same time being heatedly married to the sexy Barbara (Star Verosic, Appassionata von Climax in Li'l Abner) in Tarpon Springs.

The wives' disparate personalities are immediately telegraphed by set designer Marie Skelton's excellent split stage — Mary with traditional art on blue walls on one side, Barbara with wild abstracts on chartreuse on the other — and costume designers Skelton and Elizabeth Foote's evocative outfits — Mary in dowdy granny gowns, Barbara in skimpy satin teddies.

John juggles the situation well, until one fateful night when he's driving his cab down U.S. 19 and sees a sweet little old lady being mugged by two thugs. He runs to the rescue, gets conked on the head, winds up at Community Hospital and is lauded as a hero in the local newspaper.

Things heat up for him when New Port Richey's tough Detective Throughton (Mark Lewis, Mayor Dawgmeat in Abner) grows suspicious about John's two different addresses, and the more genial Tarpon Springs Detective Porterhouse (Bill Schommer, Handyman in My Husband's Wild Desires) tries to patch up what he thinks is merely a marital dispute.

The situation gets more complicated when John's upstairs buddy, Stanley Gardner (Rich Aront, Mayor Shinn in The Music Man) tries to help out but only makes things worse.

Adding even more humor are Barbara's flamboyantly gay upstairs neighbor, Bobby (Joe Connolly, Everett in Crazy for You), and an overly aggressive reporter (Tim Allen, Evil Eye Fleagle in Abner).

For the most part, the cast handles the challenge of Cooney's rapid-fire, tongue-twisting script with few bobbles, though there were a couple of times on opening night when even the players mixed up which wife was where.

And even though Cooney's plot is all about a blatant adulterer, it's done in such a charming way that it all seems perfectly okay.

If you go

Run for Your Wife, weekends through Nov. 8 at Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. The shows are at 8 p.m., except Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and an hour before each show. (727) 842-6777.

Farce still fresh the third time 10/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 23, 2009 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs


    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …