Defiance gives marriage a run for its money |

Defiance gives marriage a run for its money

Bigamy was never as hilarious and the repercussions never quite as disastrous for those involved as in Ray Cooney’s comedy, “Run for Your Wife.” And as the choice for Defiance Community Player’s new theatrical production, the show’s a fast-paced, audience pleasing pick for some Valentine’s Day entertainment. The story of a two-timing taxi driver with two wives ” and the way his life unravels when his various worlds collide ” “Run for Your Wife” has been a hit both in its native England and on Broadway.

The show opens today at Glenwood Springs’ Blue Acacia Theatre, located inside the Masonic Lodge, across from the Post Office. Director Jacquie Meitler says her cast is ready for a three-week run that will be full of more misunderstandings, double entendres and madness than you can shake a stick at.

“We’ve been working four days a week and doing some big run-throughs on Sunday to get things ready,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to work with a small ensemble cast ” you get a lot more quality time for rehearsal. I’ve also particularly enjoyed working with a seasoned group of actors like this. Everyone’s got 10-15 years of theater experience, and that’s made my job a lot easier.”

“Run for Your Wife’s” cast includes a who’s who of Defiance regulars, headed up by Bryan Thornton, Ryan Fleming, Kristin Carlson, Eileen Chidsey and Peter Martin. Jamie Spry, John Hines and Paul Hamilton also play smaller roles, but with the show’s lightning pace, everyone gets mixed up in the action.

The cast has done an admirable job of translating a very British show (Cooney’s original has been a mainstay of London’s West End theater district for more than two decades) into an American-friendly and easily absorbed two-act performance, changing the setting to Las Vegas. It throws in a few local references, just to brighten the picture.

“It’s taken us a little while to go through and take out a lot of the English-type phrases and place names,” Meitler says. “I saw the show out in L.A. last year and actually got to meet Ray Cooney ” my daughter, Jennetta, was working as Linda Blair’s understudy in the show, and Ray was there the night of the opening. After I saw the show, I thought it would be a perfect production to do here.”

Defiance has adapted Cooney’s original stage design for the Blue Acacia space, allowing audiences to experience both of taxi driver John’s (Bryan Thornton) mixed-up worlds. You need to slightly suspend your disbelief to create the illusion of two different apartments occupied by two different wives (Carlson on one end and Chidsey on the other), but the collective effect is very funny when it kicks in. The material may also not be appropriate for children ” some may even find more than a bit of the British-derived material a tad homophobic ” but it’s generally a light-hearted comedic romp.

“Run for Your Wife” also marks the debut of Defiance’s efforts to create a dinner theater-style environment at the Blue Acacia, with table seating for just 50 people per show (plus about 10 last-minute seats for stragglers, Meitler adds). Show-goers will enjoy desserts from the Village Inn and Valley View Hospital, as well as coffee from Sacred Grounds. In the future, Meitler says the company would like to experiment with full-blown dinner theater ” “Run for Your Wife” will help test just how well that will work in the Blue Acacia’s somewhat unique environment.

“Run for Your Wife” shows at 8 p.m. Feb. 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28 at the Blue Acacia Theater. $15. Tickets are available at Mountain Peddler or by calling 945-2174. The Saturday, Feb. 14, show is sold out already, but a few of those aforementioned rush tickets may be available at the door.

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