Reviewed by Louise Watts
It is said that laughter is the best medicine and you use less muscles to smile than to frown, but where in this day and age can you get a whole evening of true comedy?
I attended the Theatre Royal in Brighton last evening with my sister to see “Ray Cooney’s Out of Order”. I had been looking forward to this for a while as from what I had read about it, it looked really funny and with the daily stresses of life a good fun evening out is just what we needed!!
There was a star-studded cast including Shaun Williamson, Sue Holderness and Susie Amy to name but a few so I had high hopes that my abdominal muscles would hurt today after all the laughing I was going to be doing during the performance. The story revolves around a government minister Richard Willey (played by the brilliant Andrew Hall), and his mistress Jane Worthington (played by the incredibly beautiful Susie Amy) who find themselves embroiled in a potential murder situation due to a “body” they found trapped in the window of their suite at The Westminster Hotel. They try everything to get out of the mess they have fallen into but every step just lands them more and more in trouble whilst getting funnier and funnier to watch! They are digging themselves the most enormous hole when Richard decides to call upon his private secretary George Pigden (played by the hilarious Shaun Williamson) to help get them out of their predicament. Before George has time to think, Richard has married him off, gained him 3 brothers and turned him into a doctor! He turns him from a shy man who lives with his mother to a woman eater in the space of 2 hours and it is absolute comedy at its best watching it happen! Every character had an equal part in making this show what it is. From the comic waiter (played by James Holmes) and the hotel manager (played by Arthur Bostrom) to the body (David Warwick) who spends the bulk of the show hanging in the cupboard each and every actor excelled my expectations.
The jokes made about politicians and relevant political issues made the show down to earth and added an element of real life into the production! Some of the situations Richard found himself in were not too dissimilar from the situations some of our country’s politicians have found themselves in. I have not laughed so much in ages. It got to the point where you begin to think it cannot get any funnier and then it does. You find yourself predicting what will happen next and on some occasions not being too far wrong. For me this was like Fawlty Towers in the 21st century, absolute comedy genius! What was very apparent too was the mix of age ranges that the show appealed to. There were people in their 70’s in hysterics as well as people in their 20’s. The comedy was very versatile and suited everybody which in itself is quite an achievement.
My favourite part of the show was most definitely when George went to get a blanket to put on the “body” so he could walk him to Clapham Common and dump him there. When he returned with the blanket the body had moved right back to where he had started the show… Shaun’s facial expressions were just a delight to watch.
The set was simple and a little wobbly on occasion when the doors slammed but one of my favourite part of the set was the window. You have to see the show to understand why I liked it so much! It was not a surprise that the show was nothing short of outstanding when you look at all the credits that the cast have between them. With the combination of Only Fools and Horses, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Footballers wives, Eastenders, Coronation Street and Z cars, the level of talent within the cast was immeasurable and it showed.
The Theatre Royal is a wonderful venue in a convenient location within the city centre. Parking is easy in the nearby multi storey and cost me just £5 for the evening which I felt was very reasonable for a city centre car park. The staff are all very friendly and the theatre has a lovely atmosphere and ambience.
I would thoroughly recommend this performance to everybody who enjoys a good laugh as you will not be disappointed!
Tickets cost from £12 to £38.50 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Out of Order is at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from 20-25 March 2017. For more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton or call the box office on 0844 871 7650.
Theatre Royal. New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1SD | 0844 871 7650