BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

Cash on Delivery/by Michael Cooney/directed by Ray Cooney/El Portal Mainstage, NoHo/through December 20 only

1996's mega hit British farce Cash on Delivery is an exceedingly hilarious romp through an unemployed man's out-of-control experiences with social security fraud. Written by Michael Cooney, son of well-known British actor/playwright Ray Cooney, the play builds an affecting series of misunderstandings, mistaken identities and all-out silliness that prevail when Eric Swan (Jim Mahoney) attempts to fraudulently kill off the people - out of guilt - whose government checks he has been collecting illegally. Now onstage at the El Portal, Ray Cooney has directed evenly and with dynamite pacing, guaranteeing fool-proof laughter with a terrific cast, through December 20 only.

BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

It is impossible to give away the plot because as things are happening, there is so much confusion and so many names and events mentioned, that unless you have a fantastically organized brain, you will not remember them all. Suffice to say, things change about every second - no one can really figure out who anyone is - and as a result, you will laugh your head off and enjoy every inane detail. To give a couple of silly examples, Eric impersonating another tenant tells the inspector (Brian Wallace) that tenant Norman (Sam Meader) is a deaf piano tuner and can read lips. The inspector states, "Through the door?" Eric retorts, "He has very keen eyesight." Of course, as in all British farce sexual innuendos abound and when head inspector Ms. Cowper (Debra Cardona) emphatically declares "I am not easy to satisfy", we interpret that sentence going much further than an acceptance of what statements are lies and which are really the facts. Another double entendre: social worker Miss Chessington (Marie-France Arcilla) states that she is going "to lay Norman" in the bed; it merely refers to her moving a nearby corpse; but a naughty mind will twist the phrase into something lewd and lascivious...and the Brits are especially keen at this.

Cash on Delivery throws out some transgender comedy to boot, replete with lots of feminine apparel including grossly oversized undergarments. The British are consummate farceurs with no boundaries... infamous for their clever obscenities and witty takes on extreme preferences. There are also plenty of quick entrances and exits, slamming doors, doors that repeatedly knock a man unconscious, and even a washing machine that spits, sputters and moves around from time to time...

BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

The ensemble playing a variety of eccentric characters under Cooney's keen direction are all great: Mahoney - super with pratfalls, Meader - a real standout in every way, Arcilla, Cardona, Wallace, and Henrietta Meire so sincerely flustered as wife Linda, Ray Cooney uber physically adept and nimble as Uncle George, handsome Michael Sweeney Hammond hysterical as the bewildered Dr. Chapman, Hap Lawrence using character facial expression and large body stance effectively as the oh so proper undertaker and Katie Amess as Norman's innocent, confused fiancee Brenda. There is not a flaw, not a missed cue. No one stands above anyone else. Cooney as director has gleaned a perfect sense of timing from the entire cast.

Bruce Goodrich has designed a very functional living room set nicely decorated for Christmas and some fine casual costumes for the entire lot.

So, put Cash on Delivery at the top of your must-see list and go, go, go and enjoy, through December 20 only! This play is a consistent smash wherever it plays. It's one of the funniest farces I've seen in a very long time, period.

BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

BWW Review: Hysterically Funny CASH ON DELIVERY Rocks the El Portal

http://www.elportaltheatre.com/cashondelivery.html

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From This Author Don Grigware

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