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The Comedy of Errors

Theatre Review: Out of Order

20 July 17 words: James Walker

May the farce be with you…

George Pidgen (Shaun Williamson) & Jane Worthington (Susie Amy) - photo by Darren Bell

George Pidgen (Shaun Williamson) & Jane Worthington (Susie Amy) - photo by Darren Bell

Richard Willey (Jeffrey Hammer) is a junior Tory minister away on business in London. His wife thinks he’s in the Houses of Parliament for a debate, but instead he’s in a posh hotel room trying to get it on with the scantily-clad Jane Worthington (Susie Amy from Footballer’s Wives). If news gets out about his infidelity it could ruin his career, particularly as Jane happens to be Jeremy Corbyn’s secretary. But as this is farce, it all goes horribly wrong. Willey is constantly interrupted by the Hotel Manager (Arthur Bostrom from ‘Allo ‘Allo!) who finds him in various compromising positions, and then there’s the matter of the dead body guillotined in the window…

Rather than tell the truth, Willey contrives a series of cover-ups to get rid of the body. But in order to do this he calls in his personal aid George Pigden (Shaun Williamson – Barry from East Enders) to help him – or rather, do it for him. Pigden is a well-intentioned mummy’s boy, but it’s not long before he learns the art of rationalising dishonesty.

When Jane Worthington’s impotent fiancé turns up (Jules Brown) followed by Mrs. Willey (Sue Holderness –Only Fools and Horses) the lies becoming increasingly more elaborate and ridiculous, resulting in the cast losing their clothes as well as their sanity. In the midst of this madness, the seemingly hapless waiter (James Holmes) realises there’s money to be made from these corrupt individuals.

Ray Cooney’s 1990 classic (originally called Whose Wife Is It Anyway?) is a masterclass in building up momentum before the inevitable pants-down implosion. It’s updated to include a few topical references to the likes of UKIP and Teresa May. I don’t think I’ve ever left a theatre feeling so exhausted and confused, but in a good way.

Out of Order performs at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Sat 22 July.

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