Remember how much fun you had watching the British farce Run for Your Wife at Richey Suncoast Theatre in the spring of 1993? The slam-bang tale of a nondescript cab driver who had somehow ended up with two wives living mere blocks apart had theater audiences howling with laughter.
Well, he's baaa-aaack.
British playwright Ray Cooney, who wrote Wife, is the author of the upcoming Richey production of still another outlandish adult British farce, It Runs in the Family.
This time, the action revolves around the ill-timed appearance of an 18-year-old son who the very proper Dr. David Mortimore (Ken Murrin) doesn't even know exists. Young Leslie (Dan Link) is pining for his dad, who is only embarrassed by this intrusion into his climb up the professional ladder of success.
The play's other characters include Dr. Bonney (Robert "Bob" Herrmann), who likes to dress up in drag; a loony, elderly patient, Bill (Christopher Dunne), who butts into everybody's business as he careens around in his wheelchair; a stuffy _ actually, overstuffed _ nurse (Lillian Falcone), a real battle ax, and a phalanx of preposterous people who swarm in and out of the action like butterflies eluding a man with a net.
If some of the actors' names are familiar, it's no wonder. You've seen them listed among community theater players and award nominees and winners for years.
Ms. Falcone, for example, won both Best Actress in a Play and Best Supporting Actress in a Play for two roles she played at Stage West in the 1993-94 season. She is one of those gifted people equally at ease in drama _ her lead role as prosecutor in Witness for the Prosecution _ as she is in comedy, her part as the delightfully histrionic wife of a pompous Italian opera star in Lend Me a Tenor.
Ken Murrin has been nominated for awards in Best Musical and Best Actor in a Play at Stage West, and did a fine turn in the role of the hard-driving musical producer in Richey's season opener, 42nd Street.
Dunne has won more awards than anyone in the North Suncoast, seven in all: four for set design, and one each for lighting, director and supporting actor. He's returning in a comedy role after too long an absence from the stage.
Director Ray Hill is no slouch in the award department, either. He has won four at Stage West: two for set design, one for director and another for acting. At Richey, he won for choreography in 1992, which gives him five awards in all. Ray may be remembered for his singing in Richey's two Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, The Student Prince and Desert Song.
The lucky people who caught Stage West's last-season favorite, Lend Me a Tenor, have already gotten to see Dan Link, the 20-year-old who played the bellhop with broad physical comedy reminiscent of Seinfeld's Kramer. Link is an acting pro, of a kind. He plays the Prince at Weeki Wachee Spring's current underwater mermaid show, The Little Mermaid.
Many of the other faces will be familiar to Richey regulars. Dan Eckert, who plays Dr. Mike Connolly, has been in numerous productions of late, including Richard III, Sabrina Fair and Evita. Herrmann was King Edward IV in Richard III. With his glowing white hair, he looked properly regal. In his current role, that hair makes him look suitably wild. Larry Franz, the bumbling bobby in this production, has done several supporting roles at Richey, as has Annette Dunne, who plays Dr. Bonney's mum.
So much experience and a time-tested script by a writer who already has proven his popularity with local theater-goers should provide a good combination for Richey's third production this year.
It Runs in the Family, a farce in two acts, by Ray Cooney, at Richey Suncoast Theatre, Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, Nov. 3-6 and 8-14. Shows at 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $10, all seats reserved. Call 842-6777 between 1 and 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.