Out of Order - performed May 1999

By Ray Cooney

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French Ltd

Director - Nigel Lister

Producer - Kerry King


(in order of appearance)

The Manager Ray Chinn
Richard Willey Martin Rayner
Jane Worthington Allison Trenerry
The Waiter Lester Pearse
A Body Roger Licence
George Pidgen Adrian Bolton
Ronnie Graham Boulton
Pamela Jessica Boulton
Gladys Stella Cully
The Maid Thelma Rayment

Production Team

Nigel Lister, Kerry King, Jenny Rollings, Chris Bush, Bruce Emeny, Paul Spendley, Maurice Barber, Terry Cousins, Roger Licence, Jo Simons, Kate Sheffield, Lyn Weatherill, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, Yvonne Cobbold, Steve Sadler, Renee Hacon, Marion Heywood.

The Play

A Cabinet Minister's plans an illicit evening in a London hotel. The evening however comes to an abrupt halt when he and the lady involved find a dead body in the bedroom. If the Cabinet Minister is involved in the scandal, he knows that he would bring disgrace on the government and his marriage could fail. And so, he sets about trying to cover up the body.

The characters are all eminently recognisable. Richard Willey the Cabinet Minister is suave and successful. His mistress, Jane Worthington, is an attractive but dizzy blonde, and a secretary in the House of Commons serving the opposition party and in particular itís Leader.

Getting caught up in all the action, is the hotel waiter in the Hotel. The old man is a adept wheeler-dealer and uses every opportunity to obtained hush money. As he pops in and out of the action, he manages to deliver some quick and funny one-liners. The maid on the other hand is confused by the whole thing. She is from the Mediterranean and can speak little English. The Manager of the Hotel is a pompous and sombre man with little or no sense of humour.

Further complications arise when Ronnie, Janís jealous arrives. More characters arrive in the next act to add more confusion and mayhem, Richardís wife Pamela planning to surprise her husband. Richardís secretary then George tries to create a distraction by declaring his undying passion for her. The to top it all, in comes Georgeís invalid mother complete with her nurse. The confusion builds up and up until no-one can possibly know what is to happen next.

As with most farce, the action of the book is fast filled with quick one liners, sexual innuendo and slap stick action. It is very funny indeed.


Bare bottoms at the Manifest, whatever next!.
Well for a start, a 'body' that comes back to life, just one of the somewhat unusual happenings in Out of Order, The fast and furious farce staged by the Manningtree-based Manifest Theatre Group.
The play, written by Ray Cooney, is the first full-length production directed by Nigel Lister and he continued the high standards that have always made this group so special.
The acting was again faultless and the highest praise must go to those brave enough to go bare, for however a short period, and particularly Allison Trenerry, who spent most of the first act in her underwear.
Martin Rayner and Adrian Bolton were once again brilliant and Roger Licence made a superb 'corpse'.
The plot revolved around Richard Willey, a government junior minister planning to spend an evening with one of the opposition's typists but it went disastrously wrong, beginning with the discovery of a 'body' trapped in a sash window of the hotel.
Trying to get out of a very sticky situation,, things went from bad to worse and with the addition of more unexpected guests, including a distraught husband, an unexpecting wife and a nurse, it all finally came to head.
However, I have to be honest and admit I did not find it funny. I thought farce was real life slightly exaggerated and this was too OTT but the man sitting beside me was crying with laughter, which just goes to show the impossibility of writing a comedy to suit all tastes.

Photo Shoot

(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)

Thanks to Lester Pearce for these photo's