Monday, 17 July 2017

“Out Of Order” by Ray Cooney
Nottingham Theatre Royal
When Richard Willey (Jeffrey Harmer), a Government Junior Minister, plans to spend the evening with Jane Worthington (Susie Amy), one of the Opposition’s typists, in the Westminster Hotel, things go disastrously wrong - beginning with the discovery of a body (David Warwick) trapped in the hotel’s only unreliable sash window.
Desperately trying to get out of an extremely sticky situation, Richard calls for his secretary, George Pigden (Shaun Williamson) who, through Richard’s lies sinks further and further into trouble with everybody and ends up going through an identity crisis.
Things go from bad to worse with the arrival of Jane’s distraught young husband (Jules Brown) and with the addition of an unscrupulous waiter (James Holmes), a frustrated Hotel Manager (Arthur Bostrom), Mrs Willey (Sue Holderness) and Nurse Foster (Elizabeth Elvin) - things really come to a head!
Farce is a funny old area of comedy which takes me back to my childhood in the 70's. Brian Rix and "whoops there goes my trousers" plus this comedy style is always about timing and doors, just think "Fawlty Towers" at the better end of the farce scale.
That said I've always found farce a dated style of comedy and that's what tonight seemed to be, slightly dated, Don't get me wrong there were many laughs to be had but there were no big belly laughs for me at least.
Farce is physical humour and there's no shortage of that here.
Farce is a comedy style that is exaggerated and aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are over the top, and thus improbable. That too is in abundance here as well.
There are plenty of door slammings and a sash window with a mind of its' own.
Farce also has a lot of seaside bawdiness with a dash of nudity thrown in, again all the right ingredients are in this play, with a decent splash of sauce as well.
All the actors worked their socks off, one quite literally, alongside the rest of their clothes, giving another meaning to turning the other cheek. And very cheeky this play is!
It was lovely seeing Arthur Bostrum on stage but I kept hearing his faux French accent from his "Allo Allo" role in my head.
Shaun Williamson and Jeffrey Harmer were like a well oiled perfectly timed machine, at times bordering on "Little Britain" and their political comedy style but then there were times where I could see blatant borrows from kids TV shows, especially when that fourth wall was broken .
My favourite though by far was James Holmes as the waiter. So funny in his accent and Del Boy style on the make at every opportunity.
There's something for everyone in this play and the lads were well catered for with the lovely Susie May, who used to be in "Footballer's Wives" and spends most of her time in some very attractive lingerie. When you got a body like that, why keep it hidden?
For the ladies Jules Brown, appears part of time in just a towel, and finds himself in some very compromising positions!! When you got a body like that, why keep it hidden?
The timing is spot on, the doors are slammed, to such an extent that they almost take on a character of their own, and slamming a door shut is an art form of it's own, and done for a reason, not just to make a noise. it's all about the rhythm and the energy. Much like the whole of this play; energy, timing and rhythm.
Dated it may be but it still makes you laugh. The politics and political names have been updated to May and Corbin to try and refresh the play.
“Out Of Order” runs at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 22 July 2017.

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