June 26, 2023

Premiere for new twist on classic farce

A favourite farce has had a “sex change” and is being given its first UK airing at Sheringham Little Theatre this summer.

Ray Cooney’s early 1980s classic Run for Your Wife charts the cheating life of two-timing taxi driver John Smith who manages to juggle separate wives in Streatham and Wimbledon. But his story unravels when he is mugged and ends up in hospital where he has to explain himself to both women and two police forces.

Now a brand new version called Run for Your Man is having its UK premiere during the Little Theatre summer drama season – having only previously been seen in Poland and Italy.

The script has been adapted by Cooney’s friend and general manager Michael Barfoot, with John Smith transformed into Jackie.

He explained: “Ray and I were at a special staging of Run for Your Wife at a theatre in Krakow Poland which has run the show for a few days for 25 years in a row. And we wondered about changing the lead role around to a woman. Then we got asked by an Italian theatre for a sequel so we said ‘Lets’ do it!’

“It opened in Poland two years ago, when it got a 10-minute standing ovation, and we have done it in Italy too – but Sheringham will be the first UK staging.

“The switch was quite simple, with a few bits of detail that needed changing to make sense of the gender swap.

“I am really looking forward to seeing it in Sheringham and more to the point hearing it in English for the first time, having only been to Polish and Italian versions.”

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “Run for Your Wife is one of our favourite farces and we were planning to bring it back this season, but worried it might be too soon. When I applied for the license Michael explained that they had an updated version – which was so exciting and exactly what we needed!” The play attracted top cast members Richard Briers, Bernard Cribbens and Bill Pertwee when it first launched, while Cooney himself took the main role when it went to Broadway.

Run for Your Man is the Little Theatre from August 22-26. Tickets are available here.


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