BLUFFDALE —  One of the joys of summertime is outdoor theatre. Camping chairs, warm air, and live entertainment can only be made better when the entertainment is great and the admission is free. With that in mind, it would be hard to sell you on a better night out than Bluffdale Arts Council’s Cash on Delivery, a 1997 straight play by Michael Cooney. The play is a door farce where protagonist Eric Swann, played by Spencer Fox, is finally being investigated after years of defrauding the British government’s social welfare programs of 25,000 pounds sterling (about $91,000 today). Through a series of misunderstandings and an ever expanding web of lies, identities are mistaken, faulty assumptions are made, and bodies go flying. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but found myself laughing heartily through the performance. 

Julie Fox’s direction of this piece was excellent. The doors were used well and each actor had a strong grasp of where they were going with the misunderstandings in the play. The whole show clocked in a shade over two hours which kept the energy of the show up and the jokes moving. Last year I was less impressed with The Importance of Being Earnest because of its plodding pacing, but this was a massive step forward as a production. The show felt neat and the jokes hit their marks. It was just the right balance of giving the audience space to laugh without milking each line and it made the play immensely enjoyable. I think my only critique of the play’s overall direction was the Britsh accents that were inconsistent and underdeveloped. I don’t feel that they were ncessery, even if they’d been exceptionally executed, and it didn’t add to the production that they weren’t.

Spencer Fox had a dizzying task of remembering the webs of lies that the play’s main character, Eric, was spinning for the numerous characters involved in the elaborate swindle. It felt like the thoughts were occurring to him in real time, but not as if other actors had to prompt or cue him to get the scene going in the right direction. Spencer Fox’s physical comedy elevated the bits he did as he would faint dramatically, lurch back into a supposed gout pain, and bring different energy to each person he interacted with. 

I was also amused by Colin Baker’s portrayal of Norman McDonald. I worried initially that Baker would play a type of one-note hysteria that Norman lends himself to in the first few scenes, but Baker quickly diversified the character and performance. Baker maintained urgency for McDonald’s goals without becoming repetitive. Norman is engaged to be married and doesn’t want to be perceived as being dishonest or find himself committing fraud. However, as he gets entangled, Baker brought an “in for a penny, in for a pound” attitude that served the comedy of Norman exceptionally well. 

My favorite supporting character was the social worker Sally Chessington played by Kelsha Peterson. Sally’s understanding events is that Norman is actually named Dickie and is the son of Norman who has died. The absolute sincerity with which she delivers some of the plays most hysterical lines was an absolute highlight. At one point she had planned to place a corpse in the dining room, but then needs to relocate it upstairs. She seemed genuinely distraught saying “I planned to have Norman laid on the dining room table, but decided taking him up to the bed would be best,” was one of many hilariously bawdy lines. 

Bluffdale ; Cash on Delivery ; Arts Council ; 2024

Cash on Delivery plays at Bluffdale City Park Through June 17.

The play’s content rating is listed as being PG, and most of the adult humor will go over the head of younger audience members. Likely anyone who has a bedtime late enough to enjoy an 8pm start time will appreciate the humor. Some may feel discomfort at the use of terms like “transvestite” when characters are assumed to — or found to — be cross dressing, but the delivery of the lines didn’t feel overtly exclusive or derogatory and the physical and verbal humor of the show was excellent. 

I was impressed by the strong sound quality. Community shows, and particularly outdoor performances, can have sound that is inconsistent, pitchy or echoes. Sound engineer Ralph Dabling did a stupendous job of making the actor voices clear and easy to understand — even from the back. It made the performance incredibly enjoyable. 

Overall the other elements of the show were delightful. The sets, costumes and lights were both functional and added to the performance. The Washing Machine costume was particularly delightful and is a credit to Chelsea Ottoson who contributed significantly to the technical elements (set, props and costumes) as well as playing a major part in the play as Eric’s distraught wife. Ottoson might have been the show’s unsung MVP. 

Cash on Delivery is a slightly dated, but snappy and fun comedy that is rarely seen in Utah. If you can find the right door to leave your house, Bluffdale Arts has delivered a show that earned uproarious laughter from start to finish. 

Cash on Delivery plays evenings at 8pm, through June 17 at the Bluffdale City Park (2400 W. 14400 South, Bluffdale). Tickets are free. For more information, visit

These reviews are made possible by a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks program.