May 16 2011 By Siba Matti
Tons of Money Ruislip Dramatic
Journey back to the Roaring Twenties with Tons of Money, a hilarious farce brought to life by Ruislip Dramatic Society. Leading man, David Iggulden, told SIBA MATTI about what promises to be a truly spiffing show.
PEOPLE are often prepared to go to extreme lengths in pursuit of cold hard cash, as Tons of Money, which comes to the Compass Theatre from this Wednesday (18) demonstrates.
The play tells the story of hapless inventor Aubrey Allington, who is convinced he is on the brink of an incredible 'light bulb moment', a view unfortunately shared only by his wife, Louise.
Meanwhile, the couple are forced to maintain their rather exuberant lifestyle on credit, also depending on the rapidly waning good will of their creditors.
Their luck changes for the better when Aubrey inherits an incredible fortune, but the money will be swallowed up by his debts – unless he can hatch a cunning plan.
The play, penned by Will Evans and Valentine, has been adapted by Olivier and Tony award winner, Alan Ayckbourn. It will be presented by popular local thespians, Ruislip Dramatic Society (RDS).
RDS vice-chairman David Iggulden, who plays Aubrey, said: "The show was originally performed in 1922 and captures the essence and excitement of the Roaring Twenties, when flappers were dancing the Charleston and new inventions such as radio and flight made anything seem possible.
"Aubrey is a very jolly young chap who thinks up all kinds of weird and wonderful creations, including blasting powder, hair restorer and rat remover – things which I suppose would have been highly innovative at the time, but sadly none of them prove to be popular.
"When Aubrey's inheritance appears on the horizon, he realises it will all be spent on repaying his debts, that is, while he remains alive.
"He comes up with an elaborate plan involving his cousin, George Maitland, an exaggerated Mexican disguise and a slight change of character.
"But what Aubrey fails to realise is that his butler also has the same idea, and his cousin's wife will also be arriving on the scene.
"It's safe to say it doesn't quite go to plan! The play shows the lengths people will go to for money, clearly nothing has changed since the 1920s."
This will be the third time RDS have performed Tons of Money, having originally taken on the play in the 1930s.
"We wanted to do something fun and the show, the first of the famous Aldwych Theatre farces, was a hit from the start, running for no less than 733 performances," David explained.
"It is a favourite for the group, which originally performed it in March 1930, at Ruislip's Rivoli Cinema.
"The late president of RDS, Ian Tait, who was stage manager for the show, often used to tell of how the box office manager ran off with the takings – rather appropriate given the name of the show!
"We've told our box manager, 'don't even think about it!'"
Some 25 members of RDS, which has been established for almost 90 years, are involved in the production, both on stage and behind the scenes.
"We have been rehearsing since February and have sourced 1920s period costumes, including a pretty uncomfortable monocle for Aubrey, from local drama group Rickmansworth Players and the Wardrobe Mistress in Denham," said David.
"The scenes will focus on the library at Aubrey's stately home, in Marlow, and hopefully it will be something really special."
On the subject of 'something really special', David also revealed to the Gazette that RDS will be working with none other than the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on their next project.
He explained: "We have been chosen to be part of the RSC's national Open Stages programme, which aims to celebrate amateur dramatics and reforge its bond with professional theatre.
"Our application to perform The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomens Guild Dramatic Society's production of Macbeth, by McGillivray and Walter Zerlin, has been successful, so we are very excited.
"The show will take place at the Compass Theatre this November and all the main parts will be played by women, so that means a break for me! I will probably take a behind the scenes role."
Some 300 amateur groups from across the UK have signed up for the project, with shows taking place until 2012.
A national showcase will take place over several weekends in July 2012, when just one production from each region will be selected, to coincide with the World Shakespeare Festival.
David added: "The RSC contact who spoke to my sister, Zoe, RDS chairman, said they were very enthusiastic about our choice – apparently there is only one other group performing the same play as part of this project. We are keeping our fingers crossed!"
Ruislip Dramatic Society will perform Tons of Money at the Compass Theatre from Wednesday (18) until Saturday (21). The show starts at 7.45pm and tickets cost £11 (concessions £10 Wednesday and Thursday). For more information call the box office on 01895 673200 or visit www.compasstheatre.co.uk
Alternatively, call RDS on 01895 675343 or visit www.ruislipdramatic.org