Benefits Jest

What if every dreary January day brought us a rollicking farce (the theatrical variety, for a change)? Gilbert’s Hale Centre Theatre covers 21 of those 31 days with Cash on Delivery (continuing through Saturday, February 8, for good measure). The plot overflows a nutshell: Our hero tries to end his minor welfare fraud by killing the recipient (on paper), whereupon he starts receiving more benefits, and high jinks, as they do, ensue. Plus a washing machine.

Playwright Michael Cooney is the son of legendary Ray Cooney, author of the evergreen Run for Your Wife. The BBC’s stage critic Katy Lewis said the younger Cooney’s comedy is based on “lies, lies and more lies, people getting knocked out, men without their trousers, mis-timings, mistaken identities, cross dressing and dead bodies.” Or, as Chicago Theater Beat’s Lawrence Bommer suggested, Weekend at Bernie’s is making sweet, sweet love to Lend Me a Tenor.

Revel in the nonsense at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 3, at 50 West Page Avenue. Call 480-497-1181 or visit for tickets, $16 to $26.

Tue., Dec. 31, 6 & 9 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 4, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 8, 7 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 9, 7 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 11, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 16, 7 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 18, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 23, 7 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 25, 3 & 7:30 p.m., 2013


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