Ray Cooney’s theatre legacy is strongly shining on through his newest venture Out of Order which is running through its UK tour and sending belly-aching laughs to a theatre near you! Its simplistic yet effective and realistic set of a London hotel designed by Rebecca Brower means that the actors have to work together to create the upmost atmosphere – and boy did they deliver!
The play, premiered in 1990, centres around a UK minister of parliament who has to lie his way out of some very sticky situations (namely an affair with the secretary of the opposition) with the help of his sidekick who gets more and more involved with the farce that occurs – even more so when a body is found trapped in the defective window that seems to have a mind of its own, most of the characters finding themselves trapped under it within the course of the show.
Jeffrey Harmer played the role of Richard Willey the minister amazingly, and I’ll tell you the main character being a man called ‘Willey’ was one of the most subtle jokes of the evening! Hamer’s extensive theatre background meant that he was completely at ease on the stage, commanding the space and engaging with the audience. The same can be said for Shaun Williamson who played the role of the sidekick George Pidgen with a range of emotions, so much so that by the end of the play we felt as stressed as he with the events that had occurred!
The supporting cast, consisting of the much loved Sue Holderness as Pamela Willey, Susie Amy as Jane Worthington and James Holmes as the Waiter and a few others collectively helped the audience through the hilarious tale that unfolded on the stage and not a minute went by without a collective giggle from the audience. There were tears of laughter shed by many, myself included and everyone left the theatre in high spirits yearning for more of Cooney’s intelligent yet silly humour.
One of the starring roles was played by David Warwick who played the part of ‘the body’ brilliantly. Yes you heard right, the body. Playing a corpse has probably never been so funny as Warwick was dragged about the set and timed movements allowed him to become one of the most loved characters of the show.
Having a relevant political undertone to the show only made it more entertaining and I could only wish to watch these character go on for hours more, the notion that laughter burns calories would mean that I definitely left the theatre a few pounds lighter!
Get yourself to the closest theatre you know and give this show a chance, you won’t regret it… As long as you don’t go near the windows that is!
by Hannah Stait