“Money Matters,” the final production of Jewel Box Theatre's 2010-11 season, is a delightful farce with British-style comedy. Carole Brendlinger's comedy earned a well-deserved first place in Jewel Box's 2002 playwriting competition and has been brought back by audience demand.
Don Taylor does a marvelous job of directing, and the actors get to deliver some great one-liners. Set in 1894, the story concerns a young, questionably principled gentleman who decides to rescue his family status by marrying money.
But he is unable to open his heart to his enthusiastic bride due to his misunderstanding of propriety. The young bride has married for freedom. There is lots of sexual innuendo revealed through double entendre — an amusing setup.
Chris Briscoe's portrayal of Holden Latimer, a man who has no understanding of women, is excellent and highly amusing. Kris Schinske portrays the bright young bride and heiress Catherine Latimer.
Her expressions are hysterical, her timing is perfect and her physical understanding of the time frame is exact. Schinske handles her character with wit yet gives the audience a glimpse into her heart without any flutters.
The old family solicitor, Mr. Pemberton, is well-played by Paul Smith. His rendition of a brilliant lawyer is secure enough to avoid worrying about senior moments. That, along with his ability to keep a straight face, makes his confusion realistic.
Emily Mitchell is Annie Malloy, Mrs. Latimer's longtime Irish maid. Her brogue is nicely done; however, her strengths lie in the reactions to the confusing events. Mitchell's double takes are priceless. She also has a wide-eyed stare, indicating the mid-Victorian “whatever,” that draws in a modern audience with ease.
Randall Hunter plays Kendrick, the butler who has been with the Latimer family for many years. His character is the glue that holds the play together, and he seems ready for any curve that may be thrown to him and takes care of business without the slightest blink of the eye.
Hunter is able to convey an absolute understanding of the stupidity and desperation of his master's plight. He is the perfect butler and brings to mind P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves. The play's final scene seems weak, perhaps the result of some dialogue being cut.
If this is accidental, upcoming performances will be stronger as the dialogue indicating transitions is restored. Nevertheless, the actors are able to overcome slight confusion and bring everything back together for the end. The show is appropriate for most audiences, but the wiser generations will appreciate it the most.
— Elizabeth Hurd