Run For Your Wife – not for your life! A theatre review of the Arts Centre’s most recent performance

Originally written by Ray Cooney in 1983, the play Run For Your Wife hit the Aber theatre scene via the hard work of Half-Light Productions. As soon as I sat down I was immediately dragged into the fast paced and witty world of John Smith, your everyday local hero… and bigamist! Little known to everyone else, John leads a double life with each of his unsuspecting wives. Unfortunately for him however, this all comes crashing down due to one act of heroism and an old lady with a handbag.

This leaves John to navigate his own web of preposterous lies which only get bigger and funnier as the play continues. The humour itself was a perfect mixture of slapstick and mature comedy, leaving the play with such a light hearted and friendly atmosphere that it’s all you can do not to smile through the majority and I must say my cheeks are sore.

What caught my interest was the use of the set; the splitting of the room into two scenes at once worked well dynamically and moulded together in a way that was easy to keep track of and funny to watch. This kept an upbeat, buzzing pace – something was always happening!  It also maintained a nostalgic 80’s feel which I picked up on even before I knew when the play was written. The costumes and set were very reluctant to give this away and the most prominent marker of time was the attitudes and the nature of the jokes. These rang true to that of many 80’s sitcoms that filled our childhoods, reminding me of classic hits such as Only Fools and Horses or Absolutely Fabulous. If you don’t know what these are then… well, I suggest you get watching as your humour must be quite boring – unless it’s just me and my inner old lady which also possible!

The cast’s over-the-top and childlike characters were immensely funny to watch. It was exciting and enthralling to see how they all dealt with the problems thrown at them, especially the character Stanley Gardener. Played by Marcus Dobson, this character carried through most of the jokes and, in my opinion, was critical to the play’s success and so I applaud Dobson on his impeccable performance. The interactions between the cast were immensely strong and the way they worked together only made the laughing harder, particularly the two wives who, even though only speak at the end, were a great pair and their contrasting personality’s added to the shows charm even more.

I’m never one to reveal too much about a plot in a review so all I can say now is that you go and enjoy it for yourself! The fun and mischievous tone will leave you giggling for nights to come! Just don’t try this at home kids, bigamy is a crime remember (If anyone finds out that is).