Run for Your Wife

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Run for Your Wife

by Ray Cooney

Directed by Jon Ciccarelli

March 25-April 3, 2004

Taking a break from the Bard in the indoor season, HSC decides to delve into the comic stylings from across the pond.  For its first foray in British comedy, we chose an author who is a master of the material of British Farce.  Ray Cooney's plays have been produced by many local and regional companies.   John Smith is your ordinary London cab driver.  He owns his own car, sets his own hours, is hard working, punctual and lives a very ordinary life...with the exception of his two wives, Mary and Barbara.  One night John stops an old women from getting mugged and gets knocked unconscious.  After being checked over at the hospital,  he is taken to his home with Mary by a local police officer, Detective Troughton.  However, that morning, he supposed to be with at his home with Barbara.   After realizing his predicament, John tries to get home to Barbara while keeping both his first wife Mary and Detective Troughton from finding out about his second wife.  Enlisting the help of his upstairs slacker neighbor, Stanley Gardener, John heaps one lie upon another to get back to Barbara and back on his very precise schedule.  All appears to be well until another police officer, Detective Porterhouse, arrives from a neighboring district investigating the case of two cab drivers named John Smith, both mugged on the same night but having different addresses.  Quick thinking Stanley exaggerates several more lies to create a new John Smith for Detective Porterhouse, while keeping the truth from Mary.  As the lies pile up and craziness ensues, Stanley and John try valiantly to keep the nosy detectives busy, John's suspicious wives from running into each other, their sex lives straight and all of their stories together.  In the grand tradition of Faulty Towers, Mr. Bean and The Benny Hill Show, Run for Your Wife is a fast paced, slapstick, laugh a minute romp that leaves you in stitches and begging for more.  To view cast lists, performance locations, and a link to on-line text and play information, please scroll down.

The opening scene from the show featuring a split set of the two apartments of Mr. John Smith.  Left Barbara Smith (Nicole Clavell) and right Mary Smith (Abby Overton) ring the police in search of their mutual missing husband.

About the Playwright:

Ray Cooney began his theatrical career as a boy actor in Song of Norway at the Palace Theatre in 1946. He served his apprenticeship by playing in various repertory companies from Worthing to Blackburn before graduating to Brian Rix’s company at the Whitehall Theatre in 1956. He played Dry Rot and Simple Spymen and then began a writing career which, to date, has produced seventeen West End plays including One for the Pot (co-written with Tony Hilton), Not Now Darling, Move Over Mrs Markham, There Goes the Bride (all co-written with John Chapman) Chase me Comrade, Why Not Stay For Breakfast?, Wife Begins at Forty, Run for Your Wife!, Two into One, Out of Order, It Runs in the Family and Funny Money.  As Producer and Director he has been responsible for over thirty London productions, including Lloyd George Knew My Father, Whose Life is it Anyway?, They’re Playing Our Song, Duet for One, Bodies, Chicago, Clouds and Children of a Lesser God.  In 1983, Ray formed the Theatre of Comedy Company (bringing together the founder members consisting of Thirty West End stars) and he became its first Artistic Director. During Ray’s tenure the company produced over twenty plays including Run for Your Wife, Out of Order, Two into One, Passion Play, and the acclaimed revivals of See How they Run, Loot, When We are Married and Pygmalion starring Peter O’Toole and John Thaw.  During Ray’s hectic theatrical career he has always found time to continue acting and played the last year of Run for your Wife in London before appearing in the New York production. Recently he played the lead in It Runs in the Family and Funny Money.  Ray has been married to Linda for nearly thirty five years and apart from their son Michael (author of Cash on Delivery!) they have an elder son Danny who lives in Australia with his wife and two children.


Above left, Detective Troughton (Jon Ciccarelli) brings the overdue John Smith (Rich Warren) home to his first wife Mary (Abby Overton).  Above right, Stanley (Carlos R. Fernandez, right), attempts to have a "straight" conversation with the flamboyant Bobby (Jon Crefeld).


Above left, a confused and distraught Mary Smith (Abby Overton) takes her aggression out on poor old Stanley (Carlos R. Fernandez).  Above right, Bobby (Jon Crefeld) is very pleased to finally meet Stanley (Carlos R. Fernandez).

John Smith (Rich Warren) attempts to reassure his second wife Barbara (Nicole Clavell) with the first of many "little white lies" to keep her and his first wife apart.


All hell breaks loose as Mary Smith (Abby Overton) reaches her breaking point. John (Rich Warren) and Stanley (Carlos R. Fernandez) attempt to take cover behind Inspector Porterhouse (L. Robert Johnson)



Character Actor
John Smith Rich Warren
Mary Smith Abby Overton
Barbara Smith Nicole Clavell
Stanley Gardener Carlos R. Fernandez
Inspector Troughton Jon Ciccarelli
Inspector Porterhouse L. Robert Johnson
Bobby Franklin Jon Crefeld
Reporter Lisa Perez



Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Hackensack, NJ


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