By CHUCK GRAHAM
There’s another full-frontal farce brewing at Live Theatre Workshop, the current home of door-slamming comedies that start out loud and keep getting louder. Stephen Frankenfield is the one doing most of the shouting.
He plays the beleaguered Stanley, perennially caught in the middle in British playwright Ray Cooney’s madcap “Caught in the Net.” As you may remember, it was Cooney who penned the international hit “Run for Your Wife.” That was the family farcical tale of cab driver John Smith married to women in two different London neighborhoods.
The idea of such an industrious bigamist was so appealing, Cooney wrote a sequel, “Caught in the Net.” There is the same John Smith dutifully collecting his fares. The same two wives, Mary Smith and Barbara Smith. Now there are also 15-year-old Vicki Smith and 17-year-old Gavin Smith.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet, Vicki and Gavin have met and become friends. Now they want to meet in person because both are astounded to learn their fathers have the exact same name, are the exact same age and – most amazing of all – drive a taxi for a living.
Both wives think it’s nice the two teens are attracted to each other. John is frantic to keep them apart, lest they learn they have the same father. Which is why Stanley does so much shouting.
Brian Wees plays the harried John Smith, full of fidgets and worry. Since Stanley is John’s best mate – as well as the upstairs lodger in John’s home with Mary – Stanley does all the dirty work.
Whenever John has to be two places at once, Stanley must cover. This predicament invariably leaves the head-shaved Stan sputtering into a telephone, or assuring one of the teens that he is the other’s father. Or he is someone else, since Vicki already knows Stanley.
Kristi Loera plays the uptight, knife-wielding Mary. Though she wants to be a nice person, Mary just can’t abide Stanley’s more carefree ways.
Holli Henderson returns to the LTW stage as Barbara, not only sweet but also funny. Barbara is the more patient one, always willing to overlook incongruities that seem to keep popping up in John’s wickedly intricate life.
Of course there are more complications than just trying to keep Gavin from meeting Vicki and vice versa. John’s taxi has a flat tire so he must keep borrowing Stanley’s car. Which adds to Stanley’s woes because his father is coming over, expecting to go on vacation.
The father is played by Douglas Mitchell, new to LTW, making a positive impression. Also new and also good are Otto Ross and Allegra Breedlove as the teen friends. They bring a believable freshness to their roles as adolescents just beginning to realize becoming adults will be tougher than they thought.
IF YOU GO
What: “Caught in the Net” by Ray Cooney
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 12
Where: Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd.
Price: $14-$17, discounts for paying cash
Info: 327-4242, livetheatreworkshop.org