Funny Money

Date 10th February 2024
Society Congleton Players Amateur Theatre Club
Venue Daneside Theatre
Type of Production Farce
Director David McCaddon, assisted by Wendy McKie
Written By Ray Cooney

Report

Author: Jake Powell

Congleton Players were back on stage with their production of Ray Cooney’s farce, ‘Funny Money’, which was directed by David McCaddon, assisted by Wendy McKie. From the outset, it was clear that there was a good understanding of what a farce is. The pace never let up, which is exactly what is required from a farce. There was some great work on line delivery, which contributed to the excellent pace. The business with the briefcases was well rehearsed and executed brilliantly. The characterisations from all cast were well though through and developed well. The set was a very strong feature of this production, working extremely well for a farce. The attention to detail was very good, with the outside brick work of the house being seen when the front door was open. Costumes were very good as well, from Betty’s fur coat to Davenport’s coat to Slater’s black and white number.

Technical elements were well integrated into the production. Sound was very good throughout, with well cued effects, particularly the phone ringing. Lighting was good throughout. As the play is set in one location, there was no real need for any changes, but everything was well lit, which is all that can be asked for. A slight blip in the second act amused the performers, but apart from this, it was good. The shooting of the vase, picture and cuckoo clock were all well executed as well, drawing a good response from the audience.

Will Vickers took on the role of Henry Perkins. Although, perhaps, too young for the role, there was effort to age Will up! This was a strong performance from Will, and he led the cast well. Will delivered a very natural performance, which made it believable. He had a great command for the stage, and delivered the comedy of the play very well.

Angela McIntyre-Harrison played Jean Perkins. This was a great interpretation from Angela, slowly getting drunk through the course of the play. Angela was totally at ease in the role, creating a believable character. She was suitably funny when she needed to be. The business with the coat being put on backwards and inside out was very funny and well executed.

Jake McCaddon did well as Bill, the taxi driver. Jake built on his past roles with Congleton Players, delivering a good performance. He was confident and line assured. He sustained the accent well throughout and delivered the comedic lines very well.

Andrew Salmon did well as Davenport. This was a well-developed character, adding to the humour. The interactions with the rest of the cast were great and Andrew’s facial expressions were very good as well. Just be aware of your stage positioning, as there were moments where your back was toward the audience.

Claire Morris had a great air of authority as Slater, which she slowly lost as the play went on! The business with the briefcases was well executed, drawing audible reactions from the audience. Claire played the straight role very well, and gave a commanding performance.

Crystal Holford was great as Betty Johnson. Reminiscent of Alison Steadman’s Pam in ‘Gavin and Stacey’, Crystal had the audience in the palm of her hand. The whole characterisation was spot on from Crystal, who added to the comedy and the chaos extremely well. A fantastic supporting performance.

Chris Brady gave a strong performance as Vic Johnson. The confusion and bemused looks added to the character. Chris had some great interactions with the rest of the cast, creating believable relationships. This was a very good supporting performance, and Chris contributed to the comedy very well.

Paul Berridge made a nice cameo performance as the Passer-by. He got stuck in with the physicality of the role, and the costuming of his character added to the humour, with tyre marks on his coat.

Overall, this was a very good production. The comedy was strong throughout, the set was impressive, and the direction was good.

A big thank you to everyone at Congleton Players for their kind invite and their hospitality.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Fernyhough.