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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

The Mill at Sonning - Run for Your Wife

3rd October to 23rd November 2019

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Vintage Cooney at Mill

Author directs 1980s farce that has toured the world

Run for Your Wife, at The Mill at Sonning, until November 23

Author and director here, Ray Cooney, expressed surprise that this comedy was written as long ago as 1980 when he was a mere 48. He is now 87.

The fact is that this hilarious farce has aged as well as he has and ends up in Sonning after being performed all over the world since 1980. Only the 2011 movie with Danny Dyer and the New York City stage production received bad notices and Cooney and his wife were recently surprised to see a translated production in Poland, where it has been running successfully for 25 years. Alright, so the plot is paper-thin and the only action is the movement between two flats in South London, but the constant laughter that erupts all through the two acts is generated by Cooney's lines and the acting of a stellar cast at the Mill.

Performed simultaneously on one set representing two flats – one in Streatham and the other in Wimbledon – taxi driver John Smith has been successfully dividing his time between two wives and two London homes. Smith first appears with his head bandaged after going to the aid of an old lady being mugged, only to have her whack him heavily as she mistakes him for an assailant. At the hospital later, Smith gets his two addresses mixed up and starts a train of events that brings two police officers to his two sets of premises.

Nick Wilton's range of facial expressions and wild movement made him an ideal John Smith and Michelle Morris did very well as wife number one, Mary, her confusion over events as they unfolded shown in her near hysterical outbursts.

As wife number two, Judy Buxton showed very good timing throughout and so did Elizabeth Elvin as a policewoman and David Warwick as a policeman who spent most of the play looking understandably bemused at what was going on around him.

Jeffrey Holland as Smith's friend Stanley registered shock, horror, anger and disbelief in almost equal measure all through. Delme Thomas was amusing as an over-the-top gay neighbour and Donald Craigie made a brief, but effective appearance as a newspaper reporter.

Cooney's direction was as slick as you might expect and the cast brought him down to join them at the first night curtain call.