The Cash on Delivery cast. Picture by Robin Crossley.
STAGE REVIEWIT is no exaggeration when I say the latest play by Bembridge Little Theatre Club could be the funniest show I have ever seen.
From the first second, Cash on Delivery is manic, with hardly any moment for pause, and I wondered what I had let myself in for.
But moments later, comedy moments and sexual innuendoes started and the tone was set for the rest of the play.
It is centred around Eric Swan (Christian Manderfield), who has been defrauding the DSS for two years by claiming benefits for fictitious lodgers, while his wife, Linda Swan (Amber Beard) remains oblivious. Eric realises it’s all getting too much for him and tries to cancel his claims by claiming his lodger has died, but ends up getting more money.
His real lodger, Norman Bassett (Andy Ball) interrupts Eric’s call to the DSS, and quickly finds out what Eric has been up to and gets tangled in the web of deceit, based in Eric’s flat.
Sally Chessington (Caroline Willing) arrives to offer support to the supposedly grieving Eric, along with DSS inspector Mr Jenkins (John Hammond), who arrives to inspect his claims, as things spiral out of control.
There’s lies, a knock out, mistaken identities, cross dressing, groping, sexual innuendoes and a dead body. You couldn’t pack anymore in.
Dr Chapman (Kevin Wilson) provides a few much-needed calmer moments, but they don’t last long.
How the cast remembered the play, faultlessly, with perfect comedy timing, I will never know.
Funeral director Mr Forbright (Adrian Martienssen), Mr Jenkins’s boss, Ms Cowper (Kim Ball) and Norman’s fiance, Brenda Dixon (Lynne Gregory Phillips) also become embroiled in the madness. A real comedy moment from George Swan, Eric’s uncle, played by Ralph Edermainger, was hilarious and had the audience in fits of laughter.
It might be a bit unfair to single out characters for individual praise because they were all excellent but Christian as Eric Swan, Andy as Norman Bassett, John as Mr Jenkins and Ralph as George Swan were particularly good.
Cash on Delivery is described as a comical farce, which always strikes fear, as so often a farce can turn into an awful farce. But it wasn’t, it was brilliant.
In her programme notes, director Liz Jones said she hoped the audience would go home chuckling — and they did, myself included.