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Funny Money

A Farce by Ray Cooney

Directed by Keith Pollard / Carol Ardley

 


 

Cast
Jean Perkins Carol Ardley
Henry Perkins Roland Garrad
Det Sgt Davenport Keith Miller
Bill (the taxi driver) Tom Miller
Det Sgt Slater Jim Saphin
Betty Johnson Amy Shortman
Vic Johnson Len Mackenzie
Passer-by (Mr. Brerfcurse) Peter Spencer
The action takes place in the Fulham home of Henry and Jean Perkins on a winter evening.

" ... a mechainal masterpiece of maufactured mirth ..."  Spectator

"Farce-lovers are in for two and a half hours of inspired, demented bliss."  Daily Telegraph

This performance marked the debut for the Players of Len Mackenzie (right), in the role of Vic Johnson.
That's twice you've done it ...

SynopsisWhat is it?

Jean is preparing a birthday dinner for her mild-mannered accountant husband, Henry. Good friends, Betty and Vic are expected any minute, and Jean is frantic because Henry is late. When he eventually arrives, Jean finds him not quite the man he used to be. He wants to emigrate to Barcelona immediately, and with good reason: the briefcase he accidentally picked up on the Underground is stuffed with bundles of fifty pound notes amounting to 735,000! But if getting the amoney was easy, keeping it proves harder, as not one but two police inspectors call and Henry, Vic, betty and a bemused (and tipsy) Jean are forced into a frantic game of cat and mouse. Hilarious innuendo and cruelly funny turns of fate ensue as the two couples assume all sorts of identities in their battle to keep the money. Will they succeed? The cabby, cheeky Bill, has the answer. 

This brilliant farce enjoyed a spectacular run at the Playhouse Theatre, London, starring Sylvia Syms, Trevor Bannister, Henry McGee and the author himself as the hapless Henry.

The docket says two people - that's a pair, madam What about our dinner?
Is this your husband's briefcase, Mrs. Perkins? That would appear to fit the facts of the case, sir
Is that a new position, is it? He's taking your wife to Barcelona?
Brerfcurse ... brerfcurse! "Ik tel tot vijf!" (I'll count to five - it's Dutch)

Preparations for this play were anything but straight-forward. Even before the first rehearsal, the two leading males, for different reasons, had to withdraw from the cast. Fortunately, Roland and Vic both agreed to step into the breach, and they made a fine job of it with Len, in his first role for the Players, making an excellent first impression.

Then, with rehearsals well underway, our leading lady first fell ill, and then fell pregnant.  Actually it probably happened the other way around, but that's the order that we became aware of it. Forced to withdraw, she was replaced by Carol Ardley who, in turn, handed the role of Director, to Keith Pollard. 

From then on, rehearsals were a game of catch-up, and the end result was remarkably well received by audiences who could see only the swan-like performance, whilst remaining blissfully ignorant of the furious paddling under the surface.

A special mention should go to Brian Winup, who took charge of set design, and to Keith Jellicoe and others who contributed to some stunning special effects, including an exploding radio, a suicidal pot plant, and a manic cuckoo-clock. Meanwhile, Margaret Hall has retired from the business of forgery, despite demonstrating a remarkable ability to turn newspaper into relatively convincing currency.