Best Of 2008

FUNNIEST COMEDY: Funny Money at Hat Trick

It’s been years since any Bay area company has presented a farce as wildly hilarious as Ray Cooney’s Funny Money at Hat Trick Theatre. The play is about Henry Perkins, a man who accidentally picks up a briefcase full of money and decides to fly off with his wife Jean to Barcelona before the real owner — a mysterious “Mr. Nasty” — discovers the loss. And then the complications begin: a suspicious policeman, an impatient cabbie, lies, alcohol, bribery, a corpse, and a mysterious caller who keeps saying the words “Brif Kess” to anyone who’ll pick up. Director Jack Holloway not only organized the action for maximum zaniness, he also orchestrated a dizzying series of physical gags involving multiple exits, a much-used sofa, and an oversized red blanket. Best of all the show’s many actors was Shawn Hemond, who as Police Sergeant Slater maintained unflappable seriousness in the midst of all the confusion. Cooney’s well known in England for his delirious farces; let’s see more of them!