Following on from the unmentionable “unprecedented” event, many theatre companies around the county are battling against the odds to get back on stage. Broadstone Players are no different, having had to wait two years since Out Of Order was originally due to be performed. This was clearly a passion project for the director, John Sivewright, and the cast as everyone on stage appeared to be having a great time. Judging by the audience reactions throughout the production, I think it’s fair to say that they were having a great time too.
Out Of Order is a farce written by Ray Cooney. The play follows the leading man, Richard Willey, a ruthless and self-serving junior minister who finds himself in a sticky spot whilst staying in a hotel in London. Through persistent lying, subterfuge and manipulation, he finds himself embroiling himself in an increasingly tangled tale, surrounded by some unique characters. The play felt quite on the nose in some places, certainly when you consider some of the political farces that we’ve all watched play out over the last couple of years. With a mix of wit and slapstick, it was an easy watch with some memorable moments.
Alan Dester, who played Richard Willey, took to the role as if he were made for it. His character was entirely believable, lying with ease and throwing his colleagues under the bus to save his own skin. He really was the perfect politician. He played opposite George Pigden, played by Chris Huggill. George was a stark contrast to Richard, played as a bit of a mummy’s boy who found himself in situations he didn’t particularly want to be in to help his friend and employer. The two actors had good chemistry.
No hotel stay would be complete without a ruthlessly efficient, busy-body manager, and Kelly-Anne Singleton rises to the occasion perfectly. She balanced the character progression of confused through to outraged extremely well. The Waiter, played by Andrew Murton, greatly amused the audience by happily utilising the situation to make as much money as he could get. He had some wicked lines which he delivered with a lot of enthusiasm.
There were also some great performances from Alyssa Thompson as Jane Worthington, Lesley James as Pamela Willey and Cheryl Connor as Gladys.
To really deliver the slapstick well, the play needed to be persistently pacey with characters appearing from various entrances and exit. The staging lent itself really well to this, and all performers mostly had this down to a tee. There were a couple of occasions where the pace slowed a little bit, but it was soon picked back up. In a comedy like this, it is also important for the audience to pick up on the characters facial expressions and there were a few occasions where the actors were too far to the side for this to happen. Again, it was occasional, but noticeable.
All in all, I think Broadstone Players can call this particular show a success. There are further shows available 20 – 21 May*, so if you like a bit of slapstick and a giggle, this show is a good fit for you.
[*Editorial: Friday 20 – Saturday 21 May, 7.30pm each evening with a 2.15pm Saturday matinee]