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“Funny Money” is very, very FUNNY!

By Colin Wilson

The Cayman Drama Society’s newest production is the very famous Ray Cooney farce  “Funny Money”.

Quoting from Wikipedia, “Funny Money is a farce written by Ray Cooney. It premièred at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley, London, England, in 1994, followed by a successful two-year run in the West End. Cooney directed his own play and also played the part of Henry Perkins. In 2006 the play was adapted into a movie starring Chevy Chase. The play has also been presented internationally in Singapore, in May 2005, by the British Theatre Playhouse.”

With a big cast of nine with only one walk-on part, there is something for everyone to make “their mark” when they appear on stage.

Of course there are two main leads, the husband and wife pair, Henry and Jean Perkins. Everything revolves around them, but everyone else interacts with them in good old fashion English farce.

Of course, being elderly and English,I was brought up on FARCE, especially in the Brian Rix days at the Whitehall Theatre. Watching the CDS’ “Funny Money” at yesterday’s (Tue 9) dress rehearsal, I was full of nostalgia. IT WAS SO NICE TO LAUGH OUT ALOUD AGAIN!! And I did.

I was not alone. My wife, Caymanian born and bred, Joan (Watler/Bodden) laughed just as much as I did.

The CDS’ synopsis says “Mild-mannered Henry A. Perkins is just an ordinary businessman. Until he accidentally picks up the wrong briefcase and finds it to be full of money…

What should have been an ordinary birthday dinner for him, quickly becomes a night of chaos as each doorbell ring brings a new twist to this side-splitting farce!”

To add a little more to the above – “Henry assumes it is illicit cash and he decides to keep it. Knowing that the former owner must have his briefcase, he rushes home to book one way fares to Barcelona, they can go to Bali. In fact, they can buy Bali!

“The doorbell rings and they wait for their taxi. The police detective (actually a ‘bent’ police officer) at the door thinks Henry was soliciting in the men’s room of the local pub actually, he was sitting in the loo counting the cash. The bell rings again. Another detective arrives thinking Henry is dead; a man with bullet holes in his head and Henry’s briefcase were found in the Thames. Henry’s inept attempts to extricate himself from this impossible situation lead to increasingly hysterical situations, involving his friends and deadly criminals.”

And how did the CDS team do with this play? On a scale of 1 to 10 I unhesitating give it a10.

The set is superb. The furnishings are superb. The lighting is superb. The sound effects are superb. The directing is superb. The acting is superb. The PRODUCTION is superb.

It is fast paced throughout and I have to marvel how Michael McLaughlin and Agata Kalicki  could learn all their lines and deliver them at such a frantic pace, without a stammer or a stop, running around the stage like maniacs is beyond my comprehension.

I had the honour of directing both Agata and Michael in my last stage play (a few years ago) and I can tell you they are both a joy to work with. 

The funniest actor, I have to mention is the person who plays the ‘bent’ Detective Sergeant Davenport. A man played by Gabrielle Wheaton. Yes Gabby plays a man with the most outrageous moustache I have ever seen on stage. I was waiting for it to fall off or go lopsided, but it didn’t. It is well with the ticket price just to see her ply him on stage.

The rest of the cast are all now CDS stalwarts (excepting Addie Ade-Yusuf who makes her debut( comprising Adam Roberts, Mike Bishop, Liam Oko and ….Dominic Wheaton.

And if you’re wondering where was Vicki? She was in the audience doing a critique for The Cayman Compass.

She was laughing even louder than I was!

This is a MUST SEE show and you will laugh ’til you drop. And we all need a laugh right now, don’t we?

“FUNNY MONEY” By Ray Cooney plays at The Prospect Playhouse, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug 11-13, 18-20.

Door open 6:30 pm with curtain at 7:30 pm.  Tickets Adults$25, Students 16 and under $15.


IMAGES: Georgina Wilcox


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