Nigel Bacon "carries the show" in this hilarious farced adapted by Alan Ayckbourne
Alan Ayckbourn's version of the first of the Aldwych farces was original produced by the National Theatre. It is the story of a unsuccessful inventor who inherits the life interest in a fortune which is to revert on his death to his cousin George Maitland. As Cousin George is thought to have died abroad, the inventor has the brilliant idea of 'dying' so that he can resurrect himself as his cousin and avoid paying his enormous debts. Complications arise in the form of George's wife, another Maitland imposter (the butler's brother) and finally the real George Maitland.
"A spirited piece which captures the flavor of the period" - Sunday Today
"Mr. Ayckbourn's treatment of this...crowd pleaser is an unerring theatrical delight" - Daily Mail
Sprules - Peter Stokes
Simpson - Lou Jackson
Miss Benita Mullett - Eve Berry
Louis Allington - Libby Beck
Aubrey Henry Maitland Allington - Nigel Bacon
Giles - Vic Berry
James Chesterman - Dan Sugrue
Jean Everard - Pia Obank
Henery - Nick Wyse
George Maitland - Steve Stott
"Tons of fun"
(Bucks Free Press review by Archie Wilson)
I can't say why I'm a huge lover of the farce as a piece of theatrical entertainment. It all seems rather facile and silly to me although the success of Brian Rix in the past indicates that a large proportion of theater goers disagree with those sentiments!
Certain the audience at Lane End Players latest productions, Tons of Money, appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves if the rapturous applause at curtain is anything to go by. Although the play was written by Will Evans and Valentine, it is its adaptation by the inimitable Alan Ayckbourn that puts it in the need-to-see category.
One of the essentials when directing a farce is to make absolutely sure that the timing is spot on. There are so many comings and goings, character changes, disguises, trouser dropping and convoluted plots that without precise direction the audience will leave the theatre confused and bewildered.
Director Dave Bowden scored heavily here. The stage directions were excellent and the timing perfect, although this is not surprising when Lane End have the services of the admirable Nigel Bacon. Once again he was outstanding as the much put-upon Aubrey Henry Maitland Allington, completely in character, extrovert as ever and abounding with confidence. Although there was not a poor performance it was Nigel who really carried the show.
A beautiful little cameo performance by Lou Jackson as Simpson, all fluttering eyes and sweet smiles, had the audience falling about with laughter as did all the weird hand signals given by Sprules the butler (Peter Stokes).
I must mention the set. It was simply superb, much better than my lounge at home! As set as good as this enhances a play enormously and this was n o exception. On curtain up it elicited a spontaneous round of applause, thoroughly deserved too.
Arthur Valentine and Will Evans - adapted by Alan Ayckbourn
Lane End Village Hall
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