Last year the acclaimed Moondharrig Players Mooncoin had a fine hit with the popular farce Run For You Wife, so this year they stayed with the genre and went for Funny Money by Ray Cooney.
In 1994 Cooney directed the play and played the lead role in the West End where the play had a successful two-year run. In 2006 Chevy Chase starred in a US movie adapted from the UK script.
The storyline is strictly farce and needed a rapid pace to keep the audience from seeing the cracks and coincidences in the play. Moondharrig took this play at a cracking pace and never took the foot off the pedal so that despite glitches with matching briefcases, passports, phones that rang when they shouldn’t, confusion over characters names; opening a brief case when they shouldn’t and duff gun shots (but an ace cuckoo clock effect made up for that). Still the pace never flagged and by the end the audience were in stitches and were wonderfully entertained.
A mild mannered, middle-class, accountant picks up the wrong briefcase on the tube and it contains a million euro. He decides to keep it and counts the haul in a pub toilet, attracting the attention of a bent copper who believes Perkins the accountant is soliciting men.
Perkins wants to fly to Barcelona that night and orders a taxi but his wife Jean won’t go as their friends Vic and Betty are coming to celebrate Perkins birthday. Betty fancies a bit of husband swopping and another serious copper arrives to get Jean to go to the morgue to identify her presumed dead husband identified by the other briefcase.
Mayhem ensues and Liam Hoban, who directed and played Perkins, allowed the performance go for broke and on the night the entertainment and hilarious nonsense won out in a rapid succession of funnier and more absurd twists in the tale.
Esther Delahunty, as the confused wife, Jean, was superb as she took to the drink and you just had to admire her acting control as she seemed to get drunker and drunker. Not an easy thing to do on stage and you cold sober.
Frank Hogan, as Vic, was amazing and his deadpan confusion was such a delight and a counter balance to the madness. His exasperations were a howl. Martina Nathan had a ball as the risque wife Betty. Seamus Kearns was fun as the bewildered taxi driver. Ronan Walsh was a fine bent copper and Pat Dalton excelled as the straight but dim copper. Liam Walsh was an unconvincing gunman drug dealer.
Ronan Walsh designed the functional set with several doors.