Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:45 AM April 25, 2015
It is very nice, once in a while, to see a play that is just perfectly done. Repertory Philippines’ “Run For Your Wife” will not change your life or make you see the world differently. But then, it doesn’t have to. This play is about laughing and having fun, and is cringe comedy at its finest. Go see it. Your abs will get a workout.
“Run For Your Wife” is a comedy of errors about a bunch of very clever idiots. Jamie Wilson plays John Smith, a hilariously put-upon philanderer, and it is impossible to despise him even though he has somehow managed to marry two women without ever letting them find out about each other.
A less adroit production would let us dismiss Mrs. and Mrs. Smith as fools, but Goldie Soon and Mikkie Bradshaw bring them to life in ways that show off how stereotypical the characters are without actually letting us lose our sympathy for them. We criticize characters in drama if they are one-dimensional, but in comedy, that can be a very powerful advantage, and the director, Miguel Faustmann, knows it.
My favorite characters, however, are Jeremy Domingo’s Stanley Gardner and Paul Holme’s Inspector Porterhouse.
Stanley is the kind of character that would nowadays be portrayed as under the influence of powerful drugs. But he needs no such chemical assistance here, as Domingo plays him with a nervous energy that lets us admire Stanley’s loyalty even as we watch him get sucked deeper and deeper into John’s machinations. In a delicious reversal, the “wacky” irresponsible character ends up looking the sanest.
Holme, on the other hand, plays his role so incredibly straight that despite his being the paragon of sweet, fatherly maturity, he ends up being the one to drive home how insane the situation is getting. He gets several priceless scenes which are too funny to spoil.
Every single actor here made me laugh in ways that got me strange looks from the rest of the audience. James Stacey manages to turn homophobia into comedy gold. Steven Conde’s character is so ostentatiously gay that I had flashbacks to “The Producers.”
The entire ensemble was on point, the actors timing lines and actions perfectly and deploying exaggerated actions without excessively sawing the air.
Lights, sound, costumes and props were also fine. They were not spectacular or symbolic or insightful, just reliable and unobtrusive, which is what the setting demands.
The set design, however (also by Faustmann), was superb. I love how it was both realistic and symbolic without looking artificial, portraying two overlapping spaces with no artificial divisions.
The play derives its comedy from satirizing and exaggerating stereotypes. If you are easily offended, try something safer.
That being said, the play requires no swearing or violence to be funny and, refreshingly, little violence will be done to your wallet as well—I found the tickets quite reasonably priced given the high production values and obvious skill and experience of the cast.
I give this play full marks for being an adroitly timed and hilariously written comedy that does not have to resort to slapstick or idiot humor. It is convoluted without being complicated, formulaic without leaning on the formula, absurd without crushing your faith in humanity.
If I have one complaint, the summation was somewhat too sane, the ending too abrupt. Of course, that may have been only disappointment on my part that the play had to end. Go see it, and have a hilarious time.
Repertory Philippines’ “Run for Your Wife” runs until May 3 at OnStage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Call Repertory Philippines 8433570 or 8919999, or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.