When we were invited to review Ray Cooney’s ‘Out of Order’, which has been showing at the New Theatre this week, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When you take in the cast list, it reads like a who’s who of comedy sitcom legends. Even though I was born in ’89 I was brought up on diet of 70s British comedy classics (In fact, the only impression I can do is off the French resistance leader, Michelle Dubois from ‘Allo, Allo’…”Listen very carefully, I will only say this once…’) and I was excited to see so many familiar faces on the stage; together this stellar lineup didn’t disappoint. Quite frankly I haven’t laughed so hard in an age. Honestly, if you are looking for a good night out this Saturday snap up one of the tickets left.
Out of Order is a farce, a political mickey-taking. Heading up the cast is Shaun Williamson (Eastenders, Extras), playing the tormented private secretary to Jeffery Harmer’s junior minister. Whilst Sue Holderness (Only Fools And Horses, Green Green Grass) plays the unsuspecting wife and Arthur Bostrom (Allo, Allo) is the less-than-understanding hotel manager.
Tory junior minister, Richard Willey, hopes for a night of hot passionate love with Jeremy Corbyn’s secretary Jane Worthington. When a dead body is found hanging out of their window, Mr. Willey’s secretary George Pigden is brought in to help with the cover up. Suffice to say that it all quickly descends into haphazard chaos, with poor ol’ George suffering an identity crisis which had the audience in stitches. I’m not going to go into the whole thing as it will simply ruin it for you.
Ray Cooney is heralded as the ‘Master of Farce’ having written some twenty plays which combine that traditional British sense of bawdiness with complicated narratives as characters leap to assumptions and talk at cross purposes. I’d love to see what Ray Cooney could do with the Trump administration, I bet he’d have a field day. Anyway, if I haven’t convinced you to catch this play whilst it’s in Oxford, just watch this teaser…You can get tickets here: