Cash On Delivery
By Michael Cooney
Presented with special permission by Samuel French
Michael Cooney’s riotous farce has all the ingredients for rib-tickling hilarity and offers a colourful selection of character roles. Eric Swan (aided by his Uncle George and unbeknown to his wife, Linda) has pocketed thousands of pounds through fraudulent DSS claims. When Norman Bassett (the lodger) opens the door to Mr Jenkins, the DSS Inspector, deceptive mayhem follows Michael Cooney’s riotous farce has all the ingredients for rib-tickling hilarity and offers a colorful selection of character roles. The hero, Eric Swan, has been laid off and never found the courage to tell his wife. Instead, he has invented a whole string of fictitious claimants living as lodgers at his home, and each week he cashes their benefit checks. Unfortunately, a man from the DSS arrives on the very morning that Swan, realizing the scam is getting out of hand, has announced that one of his lodgers has died. A grief counsellor arrives, hotly pursued by a marriage-relations expert and an undertaker. As a result, Swan and his reluctant collaborator, Norman McDonald, have to invent a whole repertory company of fake identities and fictitious family relationships, and there are delirious passages when everyone on stage seems to be talking at cross-purposes.
The panicky mayhem kicks in early and never lets up, and the ludicrous plot is developed with an insane logic that touches on the inspirational. And while the play’s subject matter is topical, the farce is as reassuringly familiar. Huge-chested old boots are groped in the mistaken impression that they are chaps in drag, dead bodies that aren’t really dead are subjected to terrible indignities and Michael Cooney seems touchingly convinced that he is the first writer ever to have considered the comic possibilities of the word “Uranus”.
“The piece is so ingeniously plotted, the permutations on old routines so virtuosic, that I found myself snorting like a demented whale…an instant classic of the genre.” – The Telegraph,
“…the audience never stops laughing throughout and that’s how you know a farce has force.” – Chicago Theater Beat