Reviewed by Cate Norris
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to those who had the misfortune of sitting in front, behind or to the side of me, and had to put up with me falling about in my chair throughout this performance. My theatre etiquette isn’t usually so lacking, but this show reduced me to a hysterical mess. Thank goodness the New Alexandra Theatre had the good sense to put toilets on every level!
Having been a fan of British farce ever since I was a child, with Fawlty Towers a firm favourite, Out of Order was my first live theatre experience and it did not disappoint. The expected non-stop laughter was delivered and this production could be best described as Fawlty Towers meets Weekend at Bernie’s – another favourite of mine!
So, the entire show is set in room 648 of the Westminster Hotel where Mr Willey, a conservative politician, is up to no good with Jeremy Corbyn’s secretary, Jane Worthington. Wanting to admire the view from the window, Jane opens the curtains of the hotel room to reveal a body with its head stuck in the window. Mr Willey, concerned that calling the police will gain negative publicity and raise some issues in explaining his and Jane’s being at the hotel, decide to put the body in the cupboard and devise a fool proof plan.
The antics that followed was British farce at its best. Poor Mr Pigden, Mr Willey’s colleague, was roped in against his will and found himself right in the middle of Mr Willey’s web of lies. Mrs Willey turned up for a visit as well as Jane’s husband, and the hotel manager and waiter kept on popping in to cause even more commotion. Mr Willey was visibly sweating as he desperately tried to keep everything in order whilst it spiralled more and more out of control.
I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed that this show was predictable. I think because there was an element of suspense with the predictability, so I was laughing when I realised what was going to happen next and then howling when I actually saw it unfold on the stage! My only gripe is that it all ended too soon – I wanted the show to last longer, in fact I think I could have watched it all night.
I have to mention David Warwick as The Body-how on Earth did you play dead so convincingly? I was concerned you were actually dead! I would also like to mention James Holmes as the Waiter, I absolutely loved him, a hilarious performance. Finally, I have to compliment Susie Amy who played Jane Worthington on her incredible figure. I was almost encouraged not to eat my interval ice cream but I figured I’d laughed that much I stood a good chance of looking just like her in the morning, but alas, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that interval ice cream!
Thank you to the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham for a lovely evening as always. Staff are always welcoming and accommodating, nothing is too much trouble. I would definitely recommend this show, put the stress and strain of life behind you for the evening and go and have a good laugh at the expense of others!
Tickets cost from £12 to £38.50 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Out of Order is at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from 10-15 April 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham or call the box office on 0844 871 3011.
New Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS