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Volume 90, Issue 96

Wednesday, March 26, 1997

red, white and blue


Money makes the bond grow stronger

©Gazette file photo
AND SO THE STORY BEGINS. Ric Reid and Seana McKenna star in the humour filled Money and Friends, the latest play to grace the stage of The Grand Theatre.

Money And Friends
At The Grand Theatre
March 26 - April 5

Oh to have rich friends! Wouldn't life seem great hearing about the famous stars, discussing large sums of money and shopping for 52-foot boats. Sounds like the only true Utopia, right?

But what if you are not as wealthy as your friends? How do you deal with the relationship?

In The Grand Theatre's latest production, Money and Friends, we see this concept unfold, as eight people – six of whom are coupled – get together for a vacation at their beach houses south of Sydney, Australia. While all seem to be living comfortably, the two singles are professors and don't seem to live in the same lap of luxury their friends enjoy. This wouldn't be such a problem but we can see the obvious differences in attitudes.

The play opens with narrator Margaret Connolly (played by Seana McKenna) telling us brief details about her life – she's a divorced professor who has received an extensive amount of psychiatric help. Then, like a film, the characters slowly come onto the scene and periodically freeze so Connolly can give us the dirt on these characters.

The story is made on the basis of the characters we meet, who aside from the two very likable professors, are made up of a high-brow lawyer and his bed-hopping wife, an environmental television show host and his girlfriend (whose role in life, like his past two wives, is to make children) and a very tense and unpersonable surgeon whose very friendly wife becomes the only other really lovable person. These characters are all portrayed proficiently – though the Australian accents are weak at times – making for a wonderfully flowing story that makes everyone consider the basis for our friends.

The bond between Margaret and Peter is strong, bringing us closer to these characters who must struggle to endure the company of their self-absorbed, thoughtless friends. The main story unfolds as several characters from the upper class turn to Peter for guidance, but on this summer unlike the past ones, Peter decides to be honest in his advice. This initially creates terrible results, with everyone hating Peter, but soon people realize honesty was the best thing for them – plus promotions and business deals all come through at the same time.

Underlying this story, which only the audience and Connolly know about initially, is the fact that due to some poor financial investment, Peter needs $40,000 or he will go bankrupt. Connolly immediately suggests turning to the overly wealthy friends but what will that do to the friendships?

The comedy does raise questions about what defines a true friend and how far a friendship be tested. The problems are somewhat resolved in a twisted, mind game format that truly makes our two down-to-earth protagonists come off as the more intelligent of the bunch.

This hilarious comedy reaches out to issues that are not normally a part of the humourous spectrum, dealing with life in the most realistic format, yet taking the audience into a world that, while we hope to never endure, will most likely be a part of in some form or another.

–Jonathan Hale

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997