Cash on Delivery - St Ann's Players
Reporter: Colin Meredith
Date online: 25 October 2011
All good farces have a complicated plot and the St Ann's Players recent production of Cash on Delivery is no exception.
Directed by David Fielding this slick production has so many twists and turns it leaves the audience feeling dizzy.
It loses none of the sharp humour in Michael Cooney's carefully constructed script. It spends five minutes or so winding itself up, setting up situations and characters and dropping hints at the mayhem to come.
The situation is that Eric Swan (Ian Mansfield) lost his job a couple years ago and has since been making a living by cheating the Social Security office. He has a number of fictitious tenants, all of whom suffer from various disabilities and special circumstances, entitling them to government benefits.
But it's gotten too deep for Eric, and he wants out; he can only keep it from his wife, Linda (Judith Mansfield), for so long, and his conscience is starting to bother him.
Only his Uncle George (Keith Taylor) knows the details of his elaborate secret money making scheme.
Before he can kill off all the characters, though, things begin to unravel.
DSS weasel Mr Jenkins (Dave Stopford) shows up needing the signature of both Eric Swan and his non-existent tenant. Eric can't play both people, obviously, so someone new is brought in, his real tenant, Norman Bassett (Tim Keiley). Norman is an easily flustered man who wants no part in the fraud, which of course just makes it funnier, as unwilling participants are so much better than willing ones.
Eric's function is to get the ball rolling and then to lie a lot near the end, and Ian Mansfield takes care of all that admirably. But in between, Norman is thrust into an impossible scenario and forced to make sense of it all.
The action at times is hysterical, taking the audience on a roller coaster of laughter.
Keith Taylor is a treat as the cooperative bumbling Uncle George. Keeping the pace going are a strong cast of eleven, including Norman's fiancée and assorted officials from the council turn up.
Finally the labyrinth of lies, mistaken identities and hasty inventions leads to an incredibly convoluted plot involving a drunk council official, a mad mother who eats wall paper, two corpses, one deaf piano tuner, one lumberjack, several cross dressers and a very temperamental washing machine.
The large cast were all superb, competent and clearly enjoying themselves
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