Ray Cooney, (‘THE MASTER OF FARCE’ – The Telegraph), is celebrating both his eighty-fifth birthday and seventy years in showbiz in 2017. He is working with producer Tom O’Connell to launch a brand new season of Ray’s comedies; the first production will be an updated version of his Olivier-Award-winning Westminster comedy Out of Order, which opens in Guildford on 8 March and tours the UK until July, with a stellar cast and directed by Cooney himself.
Further productions are planned for 2018, with details to be announced.
Out of Order will have a national press night in Brighton on Wednesday 22 March at the Theatre Royal Brighton, and the company will celebrate these anniversaries with a star-studded gala performance in Richmond on Thursday 6 April.
Ray Cooney’s credits include Run For Your Wife, Funny Money and Two Into One, Caught in the Net and It Runs in the Family. Out of Order was first produced regionally in 1980, under the original title ‘Whose Wife is it Anyway’, with Cooney playing ‘George Pigden’. The show was subsequently produced in the West End in 1990 starring Donald Sinden, Sandra Dickinson and Michael Williams, with Cooney directing.
When Tory Junior Minister Richard Willey tries to spend the evening with Jane, one of the Opposition’s secretaries, in the Westminster Hotel, things don’t exactly go according to plan – starting with the discovery of a body trapped in the hotel’s only unreliable sash window… Enlisting the help of his hapless private secretary George Pigden, Willey’s sticky situation goes from bad to worse, and with the arrival of Jane’s distraught young husband and with the addition of an unscrupulous waiter, Mrs Willey and Nurse Foster things really come to a head!
Ray Cooney said, “Having directed my Olivier Award-Winning play in London and all over the world, and hearing all that wonderful raucous laughter from audiences, it has become one of my favourite plays. I’ve up-dated it to present day and, fortunately, the basic premise of a philandering politician is as likely today as it was when the play was originally written!”
Arthur Bostrom, best known for his iconic role as ‘Officer Crabtree’ in classic sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo, will join the cast as the ‘Hotel Manager’, alongside Shaun Williamson (EastEnders, Extras) as ‘George Pigden’; Sue Holderness (Only Fools & Horses, Green Green Grass) as ‘Mrs Willey’; Andrew Hall (Butterflies, Coronation Street) as ‘Richard Willey’; Susie Amy (Footballers’ Wives) as ‘Jane Worthington’; James Holmes (Miranda) as the ‘Waiter’; Elizabeth Elvin as ‘Nurse Foster’; Jules Brown as ‘Ronnie Worthington’, and David Warwick as ‘The Body’. Completing the cast are Raphael Bar, Simon Murray, and Kate Sawyer.
David Warwick has been involved in Out or Order since 1990, when he played the ‘Body’ in the tryout at Leatherhead’s Thorndike Theatre (under its initial title of Whose Wife is it Anyway), then in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre, and the subsequent national tour. He went on to direct the play in the UK (Bournemouth & Sonning), Vienna, the Far East (Singapore & Kuala Lumpur) and the USA (Miami & New Jersey). He has also played Pigden & the Manager.
Out of Order is produced by Tom O’Connell, Debbie Hicks and Lawrence Myers, with design by Rebecca Brower, Lighting by Jack Weir, Sound by James Nicholson and casting by Marc Frankum CDG.
OUT OF ORDER – Mon 3 Apr – Sat 8 Apr at Richmond Theatre
Tickets: £16.90* – £41.90*
Richmond Box Office: 0844 871 7651*,Website: atgtickets.com/Richmond*
*Fees apply. Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.