Tons Of Money is a farce written by British writers, Will Evans and Arthur Valentine. The play follows Aubrey Allington, a failed inventor facing financial ruin, who finds out he has come into a large sum of money at the death of his brother. Surrounded by a group of colourful characters, Aubrey has to navigate his way around a number of interesting situations to get as much of the inheritance as he possibly can. The trouble is, there’s others who are interested in the money too. Swanage Drama Company have brought this play to life at the Mowlem Theatre, and they have done a bloomin’ good job of it too.
Farces, by design, are particularly difficult to stage due to the need for fast-paced and snappy rhetoric between the characters. It requires great skill from the director to ensure that the movement throughout is almost choregraphed, so that the flow of the performance is not interrupted. This was excellently delivered by Brian Travers who himself confessed that he had experienced a few sleepless nights leading up to the performance.
The show was delivered across three Acts, each Act starting at a slightly different place in time. The first two Acts were well run, with all characters fully engaged in the show and some genuinely very funny moments. However, a mix of circumstances seemed to slow the third Act down somewhat which meant that the pinnacle of the performance did not land as well as it could have done. There were a number of missed lines, which seemed to reduce the energy somewhat. This could be done much better in the future performances.
It’s clear there is a lot of talent in this company, and the cast really shined in each of their respective roles. David Wellstead-Arnold in his role of Aubrey Maitland, and whichever other characters he was playing at the time, positively demonstrated his comedy chops. He had to take a number of different personas throughout the show, and he rose to the challenge magnificently. He was a real joy to watch. Playing opposite David was Claire Layman in the role of Louise Allington, and the two of them had really great chemistry. Claire was a comic force herself, making the audience laugh out loud at various moments throughout performance. She was fully in character the whole time, and it was a joy to watch her.
In the mischievous and plotting roles of the butler and parlourmaid, Sprules and Simpson, Harry Peake and Ro Smith made a great pairing. They were both very likeable, and their physical comedy was a lot of fun to watch.
In the role of Jean Everard, Victoria Jones was really exceptional. I could have watched her meek, nervous, but occasionally quite saucy version of Jean all day. There were so many little mannerisms and fun quirks in the character, that it was very difficult to not watch her the entire time.
I must also shout out to John Attwood in the role of Giles. Sometimes all you need is your gardener to storm into the room and shout “eggs”, and this is a line that will stick with me for many months to come. Giles, who could have faded into the background, was a brilliant comedy addition.
Jacque Carter as Benita Mullet, James Chelton as James Chesterman, Stuart Wright as Henry and Philip Eades as Maitland also made great additions to the cast in their roles throughout.
Thank you cast and crew for a good performance and a good evening. There is one further opportunity to watch Tons Of Money at 7:30pm on 2 July 2022.