Tons Of Money: Background

Tons Of Money by Will Evans and Valentine is a classic farce - regarded as the first of the Aldwych farces - which Alan Ayckbourn adapted for his company at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in 1985.

The initial aim was not actually to adapt the play but to revive it, however upon receiving the script, Alan Ayckbourn realised that the play as written owed much to the Aldwych company which had first produced it and much of the script was suited to their sensibilities and strengths; the playwright also felt many of the gags were either dated from repetition or no longer risqué (Alan Ayckbourn talks comprehensively about the play on the
Ayckbourn Articles play). As a result, he ended up adapting the play and to make it more suitable for contemporary company performance.

The play was staged at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in December 1985 and proved to be a great success with audiences. Soon afterwards, Alan took a sabbatical from Scarborough to become a company director at the
National Theatre. There he would direct four productions, the first of which would be Tons Of Money. Apparently the programme of plays for his time at the National was chosen by he and the actor Michael Gambon during a meal in London; Tons Of Money being chosen because both men were familiar with the play.

Tons Of Money was premiered in October 1986 at the Lyttelton at the National Theatre; the first of the four Ayckbourn production at the National Theatre between 1986 and 1988. Reviews were complementary, but not outstanding, although the acting company would receive praise for the production. It was also put in the shade by the award-winning and highly acclaimed productions of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge and the playwright's own A Small Family Business which followed it.

Tons Of Money was published by Samuel French in 1988 and has proved to be consistently popular during subsequent years, particularly with amateur companies. It is often cited as being an approachable version of the text for companies wish to stage one of the Aldwych Farces. It has also been revived professionally a number of times including a UK tour, produced by Bill Kenwright, in 2009.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.