Run To British Comedy By Pasadena Troupe

March 15, 1991|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing writer

I've always been fascinated by what people find funny. I have a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, for example, who have all but memorized "A Night At The Opera" and "Animal Crackers" because Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx absolutely fracture them.

In our house, the stateroom scene from "A Night At The Opera" (". . . and two more hard boiled eggs." HONK!) even beats "Sesame Street."

Benjamin, 4, once yelled from the dining room, "Bring me some juice, dad. And two more vanilla yogurts. Honk!"

British humor is remarkable to me as well.

Here you have a nation where formality outstrips tea and fog as the most plentiful commodity: "I say," "Righto,"and "Blimey."

But when you take a vaudeville sketch and pump it up into a full-length play, they queue up in droves at Richmond or theWest End to howl like mad at the silliest hijinx imaginable.

Take"Run For You Wife," a funny, silly, crazy British play currently running at the Pasadena Theater Company as a case in point.

The subject is bigamy. ("Yeah. It's big of me, too." Sorry. Groucho again.)

Taxi driver John Smith is a master at juggling shifts, not only in his cab, but between his two wives, Mary and Barbara.

When a traffic accident occurs, his meticulously crafted schedule goes haywire andhe and his neighbor Stanley Gardner concoct an endless assortment oflies and schemes to keep the wives and a pair of cops from discovering John's double life.

This cast has the madcap British comedy style down pat. Timingis wonderful, energy is consistently high and the humor flies fast and furious amid the one-liners, mistaken identitiesand more hysteria than you can shake a shtick at.

Conni Ross and Cathy McBee are attractive and very funny as the wives.

McBee is wonderfully indignant, while Ross totally loses it with real style.

Michael Sullivan is as sympathetic a two-timer as you're likely to find.

Robin Chapin gives a very good performance as the neighbor who covers for his bigamist friend and winds up becoming all things to all people in the cast: a farmer, a homosexual lover, and even the flim-flam husband himself.

Tim Delancy is quite good as the straight-laced Sergeant Troughton, while Roger Buchanan proves himself more larcenist than law man as his Sergeant Porterhouse steals a scene or two toward the end of the play.

Nick Beschen is also very funny as Bobby Franklyn, the homosexual neighbor upstairs.

The "Run For Your Wife" cast is an excellent one and if you'd fancy a bit of a comic bash, this is certainly a show for you.

Subtle it's not, but then who really reacts to subtlety? Certainly not the British. Tea in the harbor and all that sort of thing, you know.

"Run For Your Wife" concludes its run tonight and tomorrow night at Baldwin Hall, Route 178 at Millersville Road. Curtain is at 8 p.m.

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