The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
June 18, 19, 20 & 21, 2014.
by Ray Cooney
Andrea Barker – Jean Perkins
Mark Best – Henry Perkins
Ian Churchill – Detective Sergeant Davenport
Tony Brownings – Bill
Diane Robinson – Betty
Dan Dryer – Vic
John Garland – Detective Sergeant Slater
H. Reeves – A Passer-by
Stage Manager – Richard Bulling
Deputy Stage Manager – Terri Challis
Assistant Stage Manager – Caroline Woodley
Properties – Anita Shipton
Properties – Di Tidzer
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Lighting Design & Operation – Martin Oakley
Sound Design – Zoey Attree
Sound Design – Bob Ryder
Sound Operation – Brian Jones
Workshop Team – David Collis
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Nigel Goldfinch
Workshop Team – Carl Gray
Workshop Team – Martin Oakley
Workshop Team – Gary Walker
Set Painting – Sue Chaplin
Set Painting – Margaret Davy
Set Painting – Sheila Neesham
Poster Design – Richard Joyce
Publicity Team – Anna Quick
Publicity Team – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity Team – Peter Joyce
Publicity Team – Margaret Pierce
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Programme Note #1: Funny Money
JG wrote: ” Welcome back to The Barn for another helping of farce, written by the master of the genre. I can’t pretend that this has been the easiest rehearsal period as, unfortunately, 2 members of the original team have had to drop out for health reasons [our best wishes go to Zoey Attree & Graham Till] and it has proven extremely difficult to get everyone into the same room until the last couple of weeks – something which is essential if every ounce of the comedy potential is to be extracted.
However, I am very lucky that we still have a cast who all have great experience of performing this type of comedy, including 2 Wick debutants, and who have all put in a lot of effort outside the rehearsal room as well as in, and I am most grateful for the additional support I have received from the backstage team and committee since I took on a rôle in the show. I am therefore confident that we can provide a performance worthy of the Wick [and of course Mr Cooney!] ”
Review #1: Funny Money
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 26 2014 issue – page 28
Reviewer: Elaine Hammond
Text Header: “Comedy comes good despite cast issues”
A COMPLICATED farce, where names keep changing and people are coming and going in all directions, requires complete focus to make it work. For Wick Theatre Company, things did not get off to a good start when two members of the original cast had to drop out for health reasons. Then, in the run-up to the staging of Funny Money at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from last Wednesday to Saturday, getting together for rehearsals proved problematic.
Director John Garland explained: “It has proven extremely difficult to get everyone into the same room until the last couple of weeks – something which is essential if every ounce of the comedy potential is to be extracted.” He actually had to take to the stage himself, to replace Graham Till as Detective Sergeant Slater, adding to his burden. But the experienced members of the cast put in a lot of effort to produce a performance that was as good as could be expected under the circumstances.
Andrea Barker, filling Zoey Attree’s rôle as Jean Perkins, needed prompting on several occasions at Thursday’s performance but she had had a lot of lines to learn and may well have needed the drink her tee-total character turned to in the play! Mark Best, in the lead rôle as Henry Perkins, stood out, as his sweat-ridden shirt was physical evidence of the effort he was putting into the performance. Diane Robinson, as Betty, and Dan Dryer, as her husband Vic, played off each other very well. Diane, was a breath of fresh air; bringing a bouncy, light aspect among everyone else’s mania, and Dan had the timing absolutely right. Stalwart performers Ian Churchill, as Detective Sergeant Davenport, and Tony Brownings, as taxi driver Bill [or was it Ben!], were both welcome additions to the cast, keeping the performance moving and remaining on the ball at all times. And there was a lovely little cameo performance from H Reeves as ‘a passer-by’, Mr Big, who wanted his money back at all costs.
Ray Cooney’s play is a classic farce, which means there is much silliness, and while the players did not quite make the best of it, there were many belly-laughs and a few of the audience were in hysterics for almost the entire evening. There were a few muddles with the swapping of the briefcases, one loaded with £735,000 in cash, and it was not always done as discreetly as perhaps it should have been. But Mr Garland certainly deserves praise for his efforts, both on and off stage. He was lucky to have support from the hard-working production crew, who produced a high quality set that gave the perfect background in which to work.
Review #2: Funny Money
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: June 21 2014 issue – page 21
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
RAY Cooney’s Funny Money has a wildly convoluted and contrived plot as good farce demands. Misunderstandings and mistaken identities abound in this hilarious mix-up involving two brief cases – one containing £750,000. The plot moves at a frenzied pace and any lapse of concentration could leave one bewildered, like many of the characters on stage. Despite the hilarity of the piece there are moral undertones showing how easy money can corrupt normally upright citizens.
A programme note informs that, due to health issues, two cast members were late replacements. Director, John Garland, had to take on the rôle of DS Slater at short notice. His performance is nicely judged bafflement. Ian Churchill neatly contrasts as a conniving, bent police officer. Garland’s direction is slick and mostly fast moving. Sadly the need for frequent prompts for one cast member breaks the play’s momentum.
Excellent comedy is provided by Tony Brownings, Diane Robinson and the droll Dan Dryer whilst Andrea Barker handles well her drunken scenes. Mark Best is hard working, as Henry Perkins, who sets off the chain of chaotic events and compounds mayhem throughout. His comic performance is masterful study of frenetic playing and mounting hysteria.
Review #3: Funny Money
Publication: N.O.D.A – National Operatic and Dramatic Association
Reviewer: Phillip Hall – Regional representative for South East Region District 1 – Mid Sussex
Following the plot of many farces can become something of a challenge. Funny Money, however, is reasonably straightforward and the brain has a reasonable chance of keeping pace when the cast numbers just seven. [Despite the creation of imaginary characters].
Mark Best had an exhausting evening of frenzied activity occasionally descending into the manic. His mastery of such a flood of dialogue was quite superb leading him to the brink of over-acting. This was the pivotal rôle and Mark carried the burden admirably. Andrea Baker, Henry’s wife Jean, would have been excellent had she not had such difficulty with remembering her dialogue. Constant prompting of one member of the cast can have an unsettling effect on the remainder. She handled her drunken scenes admirably.
Family friends, Vic and Betty, were both extremely well played by Dan Dryer and Diane Robinson. Bemused by the whole proceedings they maintained a sense of genuine confused disbelief throughout. Bill, an obliging taxi driver more likely to be found in fiction, was nicely under-played by Tony Brownings giving the occasional touch of sanity. The two detectives, played by Ian Churchill and John Garland were well interpreted with the former being not bright and ‘bent’ while the latter just lost.
John Garland must be complimented and congratulated on an excellent production with an admirable, well furnished set. Taking on one of the rôles at short notice shows real dedication to the Company. His overall direction was seamless and was set at a cracking pace.