THE NORBURY Theatre crowd was literally roaring with laughter throughout this production of Michael Cooney’s Cash on Delivery.
The fast-paced farce centres around Eric Swan who – unbeknown to his wife and in cahoots with his Uncle George – has claimed thousands of pounds in benefits he was not entitled to.
Things got difficult when DSS inspector Mr Jenkins (and later his area manager Ms Cowper) turn up to quiz him and the numerous people supposedly living at the address.
The chemistry between Alan Wollaston as Swan and reluctant partner in crime – lodger Norman Bassett (James Cowlishaw) was excellent. They bounced off each other superbly throughout and there was added comedy provided by the brilliant Andy Brown as the seemingly somewhat simple Uncle George.
Benefit fraud is usually something frowned upon by the masses but the audience was with Swan all the way, willing him to get away with it – such was the actor’s skilful portrayal.
The outrageous shenanigans were accentuated by stern wife Linda Swan, greatly played by Joy Williamson.
The vast space of the stage was made to feel wonderfully claustrophobic as more and more characters entered the frey and the deceptions went deeper.
Such was the complexity of the lies being told and, subsequently, the plot, there were occasions when the actors were struggling to remember who their characters were supposed to be playing or pretending to be.
If anything, this – and the unbelievable amounts of ad-libbing it led to – added to the hilarity of the show and it was remarkable the actors kept straight faces for the majority of the play.
Among the highlights were the scenes with the undertaker and corpse and the one where the drunken Mr Jenkins tried to bring his boss up to speed. This was brilliantly done by Mick Hill and was welcomed by the crowd who had undoubtedly forgotten everything that has gone on.
This was farce at its best – literally as one door opened another one closed and there were some marvellous one liners along the way.
Cash on Delivery certainly delivered lots of laugh out loud moments and a magnificent evening’s entertainment.
The remaining shows take place on Thursday (April 14) and Friday (April 15). Tickets, at £11 (£10 concessions) are available online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/norburytheatre or by calling 01905 770154.