I first saw Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami! on stage in London in the late 80's. It starred Jill Greenacre of BBC TV's Brittas Empire fame and was very funny. I recently bought this book as I was looking for a suitable play to produce for my local amateur theatre company. We put Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami! on for a week and it proved very popular. In fact it was one of our most successful plays ever.
The author has written the play in the great tradition of the Whitehall-oops-where-are-my-trousers-excuse-me-vicar-but-that's-my-wife genre but that's where the similarities end. Tredinnick's play is much more inventive because the characters appear more comtemporary and real than one usually finds in your average farce. The misunderstandings are legion, (and very funny), but they are refreshingly not of the tired farcical marital infidelity variety. The dialogue is extremely well written with some one-liners that wouldn't be out of place in a Neil Simon scripted Hollywood movie.
Without giving too much away the story involves an Elvis fanatic, Tom Weals, who is attempting to fly out to Miami to attend an Elvis Presley convention where he intends to marry his long suffering fiancee Alice. Unfortunately plans go wrong when he inadvertently picks up the wrong suitcases at the airport and finds them stuffed with $500,000 of Mafia money! From then on misunderstandings abound and it's pure farce on every page.
There are seven roles in the play and all of them gloriously comic and easy to cast. Just one criticism; does the author realise the problems he sets am-dram companies when he creates a set using five doors? Make sure you have a good carpenter on your team, the opening and slamming of doors will certainly test your scenery to the extreme!
Like other plays by Miles Tredinnick, Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami! reads as well as it performs. I recommend it strongly even if you just want to curl up in your favourite armchair and have a thoroughly good laugh. It is one of those rare books guaranteed to do just that.