J.R. Stuart, Cary Wiger, and Bill Hanna in Cash on Delivery.
Photo-Derby Dinner Playhouse
Cash on Delivery
By Michael Cooney
Directed by Bekki Jo Schneider
Reviewed by Craig Nolan Highley
Entire contents are copyright © 2014, Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.
You’ll be forgiven if you think you’ve seen this one before: door slamming, scheming plots, mistaken identities, hysterics, and increasingly unbelievable coincidences. It’s a formula that is becoming more and more popular in Derby Dinner’s choice of comedies of late, but when done well it can be quite funny and charming.
It is certainly done well in their latest offering, Michael Cooney’s Cash on Delivery. The plot is such a series of coincidences and impersonations and misunderstandings its rather hard to relay in a few words. What I will say is it starts out the story of a married couple running a boarding house, and the husband (Cary Wiger, at his most delightfully droll) has been secretly collecting government money (social security, death benefits, etc.) on boarders who have moved out but are still very much alive. When he tries to stop collecting on his friend Norman (J.R. Stuart, in fine form) in order to not cause trouble with Norman’s impending nuptials, his house of cards begins to fall apart.
It took me a while to warm up to this particular slice of British farce, but once it got going I was hooked. There are a lot of clever bits of wordplay and plot contortions, and the entire cast is up to the challenge. Director Bekki Jo Schneider kept things zipping along at a breakneck pace and by the end I was exhausted.
Technical aspects were well executed as well; Ron Riall’s set, representing a living room in East London was beautifully done, especially the hanging window effect. And it was nicely illuminated by Ron Breedlove’s effective lighting design.
It’s a nice start to the Playhouse’s 40th anniversary season, and judging by the response they received from the crowd on the opening night I attended, it is exactly what their audience wants.
Cash on Delivery
Starring Janet Essenpreis, Bill Hanna, Marina Hart, Paul Kerr, Elizabeth Loos, David Myers, J.R. Stuart, John Vessels, Tina Jo Wallace, and Cary Wiger.
May 20- June 29, 2014