A Farce by Ray Cooney
Directed by Keith Pollard / Carol Ardley
| 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.
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.
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
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.
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.