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Murder Most Hilarious – Funny Money at The Little Theatre of Alexandria

Jordan Wright
September 10, 2012
Special to The Alexandria Times
 

Erik Harrison (Henry Perkins) and Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins) - Photo by Doug Olmstead

Erik Harrison (Henry Perkins) and Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins) - Photo by Doug Olmstead

What would you do if your briefcase had been switched for one containing 735,000 British pounds?  No need to answer right away.  At least not until after you’ve seen the rollicking British farce Funny Money now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.  No time for high-minded morality and other sticky wickets with so much at stake.

Henry Perkins is an ordinary accountant toiling at an ordinary job in middle class London when on his commute he pops open his attaché to discover his cheese and chutney sandwich has been substituted for an identical-looking case chockfull of cold hard cash.  He hightails it into the Prince of Wales Pub using the loo to count and recount the money.  After a few whiskeys and multiple trips to the bathroom to revel secretly in his good fortune, a local detective, mistaking his joie de vivre for solicitation, follows him home for questioning.

Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins) and Marisa Johnson (Slater) - Photo by Doug Olmstead

Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins) and Marisa Johnson (Slater) - Photo by Doug Olmstead

Henry’s birthday celebration is put on hold when he concocts a plan to take it on the lam to Barcelona.  Jean is not enamored of the sudden change of party plans and even more dismayed by the jolly criminality displayed her husband. “I preferred it better, when you were a bloody wimp,” she confesses.

Everything begins to go topsy-turvy in a most delicious way, when best friends and celebrants Vic and Betty Johnson arrive and add to the mayhem.  As Vic attests, “You walk out the door in this place and you come back to Goo-Goo Land.”

Erik Harrison (Henry Perkins) and John Shackelford (Bill) - Photos by Doug Olmsted

Erik Harrison (Henry Perkins) and John Shackelford (Bill) - Photos by Doug Olmsted

Erik Harrison is the man-on-a-mission Henry Perkins while Charlene Sloan who makes an admirable debut at LTA is the whiskey-swilling wife Jean Perkins.  John Shackleford plays Bill the Cabbie, a dead ringer for The Gleason Show’s Ed Norton aka Art Carney.  Gayle Nichols-Grimes is riotous as Betty Johnson and Ted Culler, whose face can launch a thousand expressions, is her befuddled husband Vic.  Larry Grey plays the straight man Inspector Davenport and Marisa Johnson plays Detective Slater.  Apart from Bill and Slater, there’s no sense remembering the characters’ names as they take on new identities as readily as a chameleon changes color.  It’s a classic Brit comedy on steroids and Harrison is uproarious setting a breakneck pace for the rest of the crack cast.

Michael Metz (Passer-by), Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins), and  >Gayle Nichols-Grimes (Betty Johnson)  - Photo by Doug Olmstead

Michael Metz (Passer-by), Charlene Sloan (Jean Perkins), and >Gayle Nichols-Grimes (Betty Johnson) - Photo by Doug Olmstead

Brace yourself for two hours of sidesplitting mishaps, malaprops and misunderstandings.  All by a cast whose timing, to coin a phrase, is right on the money.

Through September 29th at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheatre.com

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