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The romance continues between the company at Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre and British playwright Ray Cooney.

A master of farce with an exceptional flair for bawdy entendre, Cooney has penned a number of Barn hits over the years, including "Funny Money," "It Runs in the Family" and "Wife Begins at 40."

While all raise a record number of chuckles, none quite holds a candle to the company's current production, "Run for Your Wife."

Fairly ordinary cab driver John Smith lives an anything-but-ordinary life.

His odd hours make for a flexible schedule, which he chooses to fill with two wives, in two apartments, in two towns, all neatly scheduled in his little black book.

No one is the wiser, not even his tenant and best friend Stanley, until one fateful afternoon, when John gets caught up in a random altercation with a ladies' handbag.

When the hospital in one town lists his home address as the apartment in the other town, things quickly start to unravel, raising the suspicions of each town's chief detective.

Well-meaning Stanley adds fuel to the flame, so to speak, as he desperately tries to help John keep his lives in order.

Director Mary Simon shuffles her talented company with precision, including the incomparable Dan Challacombe, as the unlikely lothario John, and audience favorite Bob Lane Jr., as Stanley.

There are also fine performances by Miranda Axsom as Mary (wife No. 1) and Diann Thompson as Barbara (wife No. 2); top-notch offerings by John Johnson as Detective Sgt. Troughton and Fred Heskett as Detective Sgt. Porterhouse; and a cherry-on-top-of-the-sundae turn by Pat Gaik that defies description.

The laughs come in rapid-fire, politically incorrect succession that will tickle even the stodgiest of funny bones, as evidenced by the thunderous applause from the capacity opening weekend crowd.

Forget your troubles and head to the country for a rib-ticklin'.

Like the sign at the buffet says, "Good food, good fun, good times!"


Patricia Stiller is a freelance writer who reviews plays for The Pantagraph.

Run for Your Wife

Venue: Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre, Goodfield

Times and dates: Thursdays though Sundays, through May 1 (except Easter Sunday)

Cost: $32 to $36

Box office: 309-965-2545

Running time: 2 hr. 10 min., including 20-min. intermission


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