FUNNY MONEYby Ray Cooney
Lakeside Community Theatre
Director, Sound Design, Stage Manager – David J. Wallis
Assistant Director, Stage Manager – Dana Naughton
Scenic Design – Juan M. Perez and Tori Torres
Lighting Design – Douglas Gill
Property Design – Alyssa McGee and Elise Knox
Costume and Hair Design – Nathan Scott
Ashley Napoli: Jean Perkins
Andrew Bryan: Henry Perkins
Chris Wooley: Davenport
Dakoda Taylor: Bill
Ariana Cox: Betty Johnson
Paul Niles: Vic Johnson
Devin Kelly: Slater
Alex Hitt: A Passer-By
Reviewed Performance: 9/21/2018
Reviewed by Jeri Tellez, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The lighting demands on Douglas Gill were basic, and he provided a flawless wash across the stage with no dark spots or shadows. I might have made the “blue outs” a bit darker, but that is a matter of personal preference.
Costume and hair design was likewise not terribly demanding on Nathan Scott, but he did a nice job of bringing the cast into the mid to late 20th century.
Props designed by Alyssa McGee and Elise Knox were almost perfect. They were appropriate for the time period, and functional but not distracting.
David J. Wallis' sound design was a pleasant enhancement to the evening. Actual sound effects were few, but were just right for the show. The presentation might benefit from a bit more practice with visual cues, but it was not terribly distracting. Otherwise, execution of sound and lights seemed impeccable.
As Jean Perkins, Ashley Napoli did a lovely job of displaying the varied emotions of a housewife presented with an unbelievable situation, while thinking her husband must have gone completely mad.
Andrew Bryan brought Henry Perkins to life wonderfully. His portrayal of disbelief, frustration, elation, despair, and relief were all distinct yet blended beautifully into one believable character. His facial expressions brought a new dimension to the play.
Davenport, as depicted by Chris Wooley, was perfectly sleazy, and it was fitting. He came across as charming at first, but his true colors soon made themselves known. Dakoda Taylor's Bill, the taxi driver, was fun to watch as he got more and more frustrated, then in the end saved the day.
Best friend Betty Johnson, played by Ariana Cox, was the perfect sidekick to Jean Perkins. She was cool and collected, adapted well to surprises, and helped bring Jean back to reality after a bit of a meltdown.
As Vic Johnson, Paul Niles was an interesting addition to the cast. Obviously older than Cox, who played Vic's wife, it gave me pause to see them as a couple. They played it well, though, and after a while I forgot about the May-December aspect of their relationship. Niles had a few slips with his accent, but he more than made up for it with his priceless silent gestures when his character was surprised yet again with new developments.
Slater, presented by Devin Kelly, was simply a joy to watch. He was caring and thoughtful at first, but as the plot developed, he became more and more flustered. His outburst in act 2 was just poetic. Kelly was the perfect choice for that role.
Alex Hitt was effective as the hapless Passer-By, bringing the most tense moments of the production. His make-up effects could have been a bit more polished, but he did a good job of displaying the physical challenges of the character.
Funny Money was definitely a funny show. At one point, I was laughing so hard I had to catch my breath. Although some of the humor was quite predictable, it was nonetheless enjoyable to watch. Wallis' skill as a director helped him bring the cast together in a wonderful ensemble piece. I would rate it PG13 for sexual innuendo, but it is unquestionably a show that older kids could enjoy.