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.
UK TOUR DATES
Wednesday 8 – Saturday 11 March Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford
Monday 20 – Saturday 25 March Theatre Royal Brighton
Monday 27 March – Saturday 1 April Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Monday 3 April – Saturday 8 April Richmond Theatre
Monday 10 – Saturday 15 April New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Monday 17 – Saturday 22 April Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 May Hall for Cornwall, Truro
Monday 8 – Saturday 13 May Malvern Theatre
Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 May New Theatre Cardiff
Monday 22 – Saturday 27 May Newcastle Theatre Royal
Monday 29 May – Saturday 3 June Manchester Opera House
Monday 5 – Saturday 10 June Orchard Theatre Dartford
Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 June Sheffield Theatres
Tuesday 20 – Saturday 24 June Churchill Bromley
Monday 26 June – Saturday 1 July Oxford New Theatre
Monday 3 – Saturday 8 July Swansea Grand
Monday 10 – Saturday 15 July Palace Theatre, Southend
Monday 17 – Saturday 22 July Nottingham Theatre Royal