'It Runs in the Family' opens today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

By Katie Scarvey
Piedmont Players Theatre audiences have gotten used to the slamming doors of the Ray Cooney farces that have come to the Meroney stage.
In 1991, there was “Run for Your Wife,” about a London cab driver with two wives.
In 1994, there was “Out of Order,” followed in 1995 by “Two Into One” — which featured Gary Thornburg and Kurt Corriher, clad in towels, a rather memorable play for those who saw it, to be sure.
Then there was “Cash on Delivery” in 1999, written by Ray Cooney’s son, Michael. In 2002, it was “Not Now Darling” and in 2005, “Caught in the Net,” the sequel to “Run for Your Wife” in which the bigamist John Smith is still keeping two families in different parts of London. His son from one wife and daughter from another have met on the internet and are anxious to meet since they seem to have so much in common.
This year’s Cooney offering is “It Runs in the Family.” The perfect Christmas farce, it’s set three days before Christmas, and Dr. Mortimer is preparing to deliver the prestigious Ponsenby Lecture at the hospital where he works.
“Needless to say,” says director Reid Leonard, “things will not go well.”
Yes, of course they won’t, since it’s a Ray Cooney farce. But slamming doors? Not so much since year, since the script called for SWINGING doors.
Leonard wasn’t so sure how that would work, but he’s a believer now that the set is up.
“People can appear and disappear almost instantaneously with the swinging doors,” he says.
The farce genre, Leonard explains, really has to be seen live — “full speed and blasting away” — to be truly appreciated.
Leonard says the script for “It Runs in the Family” was so funny that he wasn’t sure they were ever going to make it through the first read-through because everybody was laughing so hard.
No wonder, then, that Ray Cooney plays have, as Leonard notes, become kind of a trademark for Piedmont Players.
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“It Runs in the Family” will be performed at the Meroney Theatre, 213 S. Main St., at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 14-17 and December 11 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. A reduced rate of $11 is available for groups of 20 or more.
Visit the box office during the hours of 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or call from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 704-633-5471.