PREVIEW: Funny Money – Shanklin Theatre

Origins Theatre Company is a wonderful theatre company, based on our beautiful Isle of Wight. They regularly stage plays at Shanklin Theatre, and at various other venues on the Island and the South of England.

This August – 12th, 14th, 15th & 16th – Origins Theatre Company are bringing the superb ‘Funny Money’ to Shanklin Theatre.

Funny Money’ was written in the 1990s and is being performed all over the world, proving that farce is and always will be a universal language!

In ‘Funny Money‘,  Henry Perkins accidentally picks up a wrong briefcase full of money. Henry assumes it is illicit cash and decides to keep it. Knowing that the former owner must have his briefcase, he rushes home to book one way fares to Barcelona.

The doorbell rings: the police thinks Henry was soliciting in the men’s room of the local pub – actually, he was sitting in the loo counting the cash. The door bell rings again. Another detective arrives thinking Henry is dead; a man with bullet holes in his head and Henry’s briefcase were found in the Thames.

Henry’s attempts to extricate himself from this impossible situation lead to increasingly hysterical situations.

When asked why he chose for Origins Theatre Company to perform ‘Funny Money‘, Founder Kevin Wilson (playing Henry) said:

“It’s just a perfect summer season production, something people of any age can enjoy: totally silly, fast moving so no-one has much time to think – the perfect escape. But on the slightly serious side, it’s also really hard work and a fantastic experience for all of us. It relies so much on teamwork and timing, and we’re learning so much from it.  You realise what a clever devil Ray Cooney was to put this together, and it’s also pretty special to do it at Shanklin Theatre, which is an amazing theatre!”

Talking about their reasons for wanting to be a part of this production, Kevin Chance, who plays Passer By said: “To be in a production where I don’t have to sing and dance! It’s great to have a break from pantos and musicals!”

Lorna Wilson, playing Betty, said: “The sheer escapism of it, and playing a character like Betty that is so unlike me, with a great bunch of people who have made a very funny play even funnier.”

I also asked Lorna who her favourite character, other than Betty was, and she said “Bill – the innocent catalyst for much of the confusion, who has road rage before his taxi has moved an inch.”

The Director, Geoff Kirk, says you should come and watch ‘Funny Money’ because “Like all the best farces (and this is one of the best) it is based on a simple situation that could easily be resolved, but escalates into more and more silliness!”

Kevin Chance adds: “The twists and turns are as complicated as the family tree of a guest on Jeremy Kyle.”

Kevin Wilson says what he’s enjoying most about doing ‘Funny Money‘ is “The challenge of doing a proper farce, and realising how hard it is to do it justice – a real learning curve. rehearsals are completely knackering, but it’s fantastic the way we are working together, and having as much fun as we hope our audiences will have.”

He adds that his stand out moments from rehearsals have been “The red bra under the blanket, and being yelled at extremely scarily by Sergeant Slater (played by Alan Johnson). I also loved watching my wife Jean (played by Rebecca Lennon) hit the bottle…” – which I guess we’ll have to see to understand.

As a closing statement, I asked for a member of cast to let us in on their favourite line of the show. John Hammond, who plays Sergeant Davenport, chose Vic’s comment: “Betty, let’s go home while we’re reasonably sane,”  which he thinks sums the show up pretty well.

Funny Money‘ will be performed at Shanklin theatre on August 12th, 14th, 15th & 16th and tickets are available from the SHANKLIN THEATRE WEBSITE

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