Caught in the Net
by Spotlight Theatre Company
Spotlight Theatre Company in Lakewood, Colorado recently produced two British comedies, “Run for Your Wife” and its sequel “Caught in the Net”. Director Pat Payne and the casts of both shows have been enjoying the success of both productions this summer.
In “Run for Your Wife”, John, a London taxi driver, is taken home after having suffered a concussion. As the story unravels, we learn that John has been taken home to the wrong wife- there are actually two wives, two homes and a nutty upstairs neighbor. It can be hard to like a bigamist, but John, played here by the amazing Bernie Cardell, makes us love poor the poor guy. Lots of adult situations ensue, including a flamingly gay upstairs neighbor and lots of sexual innuendo. So, why is NYT interested in this show with its all-adult cast? Because it’s a set-up. A set-up for what happens 18 years later….
“Caught in the Net” is the continuing story of the Smiths- son Gavin Smith with his mum Barbara and daughter Vicki Smith with her mum Mary. The kids meet in an internet chat room, discover that their fathers have the same name & occupation, and decide to meet. Complete chaos ensues when dad, always trying to keep his secret, tries to keep the kids apart. The result is a rollickingly good time, with slapstick physicality in a very demanding script.
The adult roles are played by Bonnie Greene as Mary Smith, the doting wife who reminds you of the insanely talented Bonnie Franklin. Hayley Johnson plays the “other wife”, Mary Smith, with a cool exterior and sex appeal. Clint Heyn is Stanley Gardner, whose expressions are wonderful as he navigates the rapid-fire dialogue like a race car driver through curves. Bob Leggett as Dad has some very good moments, most of them a bit naughty! And the previous mentioned Cardell is priceless. His timing and uncanny ability to act through his face seem so natural you would expect to meet John Smith after the show. One can picture him playing almost any comic role and his talent alone is worth the price of admission.
Gavin is played by Brad Greening and Vicki is Chesney Oxenham, both in roles that seem to fit them quite well. Greening’s hairstyle is decidedly “English teen” and his accent flawless. I enjoyed watching him come through with believable excitement over meeting a new girl- it was subtle, but spot on. Oxenham plays the dutiful daughter with a tad of seething anger underneath that is just as it would be in a real life teen. She loves her dad and wants to please him, even though he really ticks her off. Greening had a tough time keeping a straight face a couple of times (and I don’t know how he did) with all of the humor and an audience who clearly LOVED this production. “Caught in the Net” is funnier than “Run for Your Wife” and although it is possible to enjoy the sequel without ever having seen the first show, it was sure a delight to see them both.
Oxenham and Greening were a great deal of fun to watch- I hope to catch them in other productions. The costuming was fine- the sets just great. Director Pat Payne & Spotlight Theatre Company have a lot to celebrate! We will look forward to seeing what they do next.
“Caught in the Net” has completed its run at the E-Project in Lakewood, Colorado.
Performed July 13 - August 4, 2007.
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Directed by Pat Payne
John Smith - Bernie Cardell
Stanley Gardner - Clint Heyn
Mary Smith - Bonnie Greene
Barbara Smith - Hayley Johnson
Gavin Smith - Brad Greening
Vicky Smith - Chesney Oxenham
Dad - Bob Leggett