Written by Michael Cooney, Cash on Delivery is a farce in the classic British tradition. It revolves around the excesses of a British welfare state that is out of control, with the central beneficiary, Eric Swan, deluged with money from all sorts of bizarre claims
that he has creatively contrived. His own guilt leads him to try and extricate himself from the tangled web of lies by reporting the ‘death’ of his tenant Norman MacDonald. This coupled with an untimely visit from an inspector from the Department of Health and Social Security means things rapidly unravel…with catastrophic and hilarious results.
Directed by newcomer Jerry Zimmer, the play starts slowly as the characters set the stage for an onslaught of inside jokes but after the first 30 minutes, the giggles begin as we witness quick fired one-liners, physical humour and increasingly bizarre misunderstandings.
The cast of ten actors pull off the farce well. Nathanael Bayliss is
reminiscent of Jim Carey as he juggles his increasingly convoluted
stories. His ingenuity is well balanced by the confused and somewhat inept tenant Norman MacDonald portrayed admirably by Daniel Steele. Other characters adding to the mayhem are Uncle George, Eric’s partner in deceit; Mr Jenkins, the nerdy DHSS official; his superior, Ms Cowper who you ‘wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of’; Mrs Swan, Eric’s wife, who suspects her husbandis hiding a cross dressing fetish; a grief counsellor from the local council’s family crisis department; a psychotherapist, Dr Chapman, helping Mrs Swan to adjust to her husband’s activities; the amusingly named undertaker, Mr Forbright and Norman’s fiancée, Brenda, who is eager to discuss their coming wedding!
Zimmer has wisely kept the action in Britain but the set, though well-constructed, did not resemble a British home, being basic to the point of sterility. The success of the play lies in the speed of the action and overall the pace is maintained although I’d like to have seen a little more frenetic door slamming as the number of characters increased. When one door closes another one opens and there are more entries and exits than in a hospital emergency department, the best of which involves a corpse on a stretcher.
Cash on Delivery is absurd, unrealistic, completely ridiculous and often cringeworthy,
all in a good way. A fun night out!
Noarlunga Theatre Company
Arts Centre Port Noarlunga