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Out of Order

by on 1 June 2018

Division Belles!

Out of Order

by Ray Cooney

Edmundian Players at Cheray Hall, Whitton until 2nd June

A Review by Mary Stoakes

In 2016 Terry Bedell and Dave Young demonstrated their considerable talent for comedic acting in The Edmundians production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. Two years later they have very successfully renewed this partnership and moved on to full-blown farce, Out of Order, written originally in the 1990s by Ray Cooney.


As with many Cooney plays, the story revolves around the escapades of a man trying to lie his way out of an embarrassing situation. A married Conservative Junior minister, Richard Willey, meets with Jane Worthington, secretary to the Labour leader, for an extra marital fling in a Westminster Hotel. All goes promisingly until they discover a dead body protruding through their defective sash window. A tangled web of outrageous lies and improbable situations then follows, all concocted by Willey to protect his reputation both as a minister and husband.

Westm Hotel

Farce is a difficult genre to get right especially for amateur companies with limited resources and sometimes involves a lot of aimless door banging and rushing around the stage. This production was tautly and expertly directed by Jackie Howting and Terry Bedell who were aided by a very clever and attractive set design. The Westminster hotel room was convincingly and meticulously represented with only two doors, a walk in cupboard, mysteriously opening when least expected, and the pivotal sash window, which again had a life of its own – although one suspects that special effects man, Alan Smith, may have had something to do this! The window also featured a spectacular view of Westminster painted by scenic artist Peter Hogan.



High energy levels and quick fire repartee from all the cast were the order of the day. The many double entendres were slotted seamlessly into the dialogue and not over-cooked. Terry Bedell excelled as the MP attempting to direct a totally out of control situation of his own making with the help of his hapless PPS, George Pigden, played by Dave Young. This portrayal of the quiet, dim and bewildered assistant, worried about getting home to his mother, was an ideal foil to the bombastic machinations of his boss and the two acted together with great comedic timing which had the audience in stitches.

20180602_103442Supporting these two outstanding performances, Neelaksh Sadhoo had fun with some great physical comedy acting as ‘The Body’ and Jessica Young was attractively worried as Jane Worthington. To prove ‘The Body’ was alive, they joined the main characters in a hilarious version of Jake the Peg which brought the house down. As the hotel staff, Ellen Walker was suitably severe as the horrified Manager, while Matt Power, (in a dreadful wig), generated a lot of laughs as the grasping and incompetent waiter. Amelia Kirk supported both well as the uncomprehending Italian maid.


The second act moved at an even faster pace as the mayhem ratcheted up, with the appearance of Willey’s wife (Becky Holden) and Gladys, the Nurse, (Paula Young). Matt Ludbrook played Ronnie, Jane’s handsome but weak husband. As this was a farce, he lost his trousers but, as we were in a Church Hall, managed to keep a towel firmly in place!

The play ended more or less happily for the characters with reconciliations all round and for the audience, seated at tables in the Cheray Hall, the evening had been a joy. It is great sometimes to be entertained at the theatre and not educated, harrowed, deafened or even made to think too deeply! Thank you Edmundians – a great night out!

Mary Stoakes

June 2018

Photography by Diliff and The Red List.

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