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Silchester Players - Tons of Money

8th to 9th May and 15th to 16th May 2015.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

The who's who of Silchester farce

Silchester Players: Tons of Money, at Silchester Village Hall, on Friday, May 8, Saturday, May 9, Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16

Tons of Money by Will Evans and Valentine is a classic farce - regarded as the first of the Aldwych farces - which Alan Ayckbourn originally adapted for his company at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, in 1985.

Aubrey Allington was an unsuccessful and heavily in debt inventor (this was an impressive portrayal from young actor Oli Williams). Relief arrived in the form of a large inheritance, but when Aubrey realised that his creditors would snatch up all of his newly-acquired fortune before he could lay his hands on it, Aubrey's wife Louise came up with a succession of 'bright ideas'; the first involving him faking his own death and reappearing as his long lost cousin George Maitland to claim all the cash. Further complications (more bright ideas!) involved another faked death by Aubrey and a subsequent resurrection; two separate impersonations of a relative presumed dead (who also inconveniently turned up himself); and Louise's friend, a not-quite-widow who got to indulge herself with all three of the 'George Maitlands’! Added in were a couple of comic domestics, a deaf aunt, a laconic solicitor, a batty gardener and, of course, a classic country house; that in a nutshell was the plot.

Farce is deceptively difficult to play, requiring slick delivery and timing. At times, lines were a little hesitant, but after a bit of a slow start, where the scenario was set (as if often the case), the comedy took off at high speed, taking in many twists and turns with numerous complications, giving the audience many moments of high comedy, with plenty of belly laughs. Charlie Henkey's Louise was the one holding the whole show together (and she did so admirably with style and good comedy). The three different missing cousins turned up one after another, to be greeted effusively each time by his wife Jean (very nicely played by Leanne Qurrey). Stephen Bibby was the butler Sprules with an eye on acquisition of the money himself, and Amanda Albrecht the maid with hopes of marriage. This pairing was full of comedy and well played.

Good support came in the smaller roles: Jill Gillet (Miss Mullet), Nick Lock (Henery), Clive Solomons (George Maitland) and Ian Haynes (Giles).

Under the direction of Claire Humphreys, with a good set, impeccable effects and high production values, this was a thoroughly enjoyable show. Well done.