Tons of Money

NODA Said:

Alvechurch Dramatic Society
Tons of Money

Alvechurch Village Hall
Director Helen Tuite
Co-Director Chris Tomlin
27th November 2015

Adapted and up-dated by Alan Ayckbourn in 1986 for the National Theatre this is peppered with fun and froth and an interesting choice as a first for any director though judging by audience reaction it proved to be the right one.

Set in the home of the Allingtons the farce with an abundance of twists and turns follows a convoluted plot of mistaken identity, confusion and character changes as this socialite pair float around their country mansion. ‘Aubrey Allington’ played strongly by Martin Salter and the slightly dim ‘Louise’ his wife played delightfully by Gemma Batty are living on credit and up to their eyes in bills and final demand letters.

In the opening scene we are introduced to ‘Sprules’ the butler played brilliantly in a most obsequious manner by Chris Davies. Completing the servants pairing ‘Simpson’ the maid and who is hoping to marry ‘Sprules’ was excellent in accent and characterisation played by Jo Bestwick.

A solution to the ‘Allingtons’ pending bankruptcy is in prospect with the arrival of Mr
Chesterman a Lincolns Inn Fields lawyer dressed appropriately in a three piece pin stripe suit portrayed to the letter in deadpan fashion by Taff Kara who turns up with news that a long lost relative had bequeathed them a wad of dough – tons of money. The intricacies of the tale then begin to take hold. The first being that once ‘Aubrey’ dies, whatever money’s left will go to his cousin ‘George’, whom everyone presumes to have died in Mexico

Seeking to secure the inheritance Louise in one of her bright ideas is instrumental in helping concoct the demise of Aubrey with a fake death, involving an explosion. He would then show up in disguise as ‘George Maitland’, claim the money, and live happily ever after. The death- faking nearly goes to plan, and ‘Aubrey’ shows up complete with false beard pretending to be ‘George’.

While the ‘Allingtons’ subterfuge is in progress ‘Sprules’ who pocketed the will left by ‘Aubrey’ on the breakfast table enlisted his own brother ‘Henery ‘portrayed by Steve Siddle to pose as ‘George’ for the same purpose!. The resourceful ‘Louise’ has another brainwave involving drowning, when she learns that inheritance would be hers if Cousin ‘George’ had in fact pre-deceased ‘Aubrey’. In the complexity of the story ‘Aubrey’ turns up again this time as a monk and the real ‘George’ played by Alan Clarke with a genuine beard and true accent and manner appears. The consequence being three different men calling themselves the missing cousin turning up one after another, to be greeted effusively each time by ‘George’s’ wife ‘Jean’ played splendidly by Pauline Chadaway who “would know him anywhere”. The lady swooning and falling for any hunk who looks like her long lost husband at the twirl of a large bushy beard.

This was not a riotous laugh a minute play and at times the flow lacked a bit of pace which resulted in some of the comic script and timing being lost. There was however a most accomplished performance from Sue Resuggan as ‘Miss Benita Mullett’ and with one line appearances Ges Taylor as ‘Giles’ was fascinating.

The set was authentic and well placed with furniture and props gathered from members of this local talented group demonstrating their capability to deliver good entertainment. Well- chosen selection of music at the start and end of the play just gave that additional special reminder of being transported back to 1920’s England.

Ian G Cox