Following the success of last season’s Lend Me a Tenor, Stage Door Players continues its tradition of presenting a farce each season by opening its 39th Anniversary Season with Ray Cooney’s Out of Order.
Set in a suite of London’s Westminster Hotel, Out of Order takes place during one evening in September 1991. Chaos breaks loose as Richard Willey (Matthew Myers) and Jane Worthington’s (Jenny Holden) secret rendezvous risks being made public when a body is discovered in the window.
Summoned to help come up with a solution, George Pigden (Terry Guest), who leaves his ailing and worrying mother at home with her nurse (Dina Shawell), tries to overcome his nerves as Ronnie (Doug Graham), Jane’s husband, tries to find his wife’s suitor. When the true identity of the man in the window is discovered and hotel staff intruding, just who is who becomes harder to distinguish for all involved.
In addition to perfectly timing each aspect of the swift-moving story, Director Robert Egizio, Stage Door Players’ Artistic Director, has assembled a talented cast for Out of Order. A perfect comedic ensemble, the cast is spot on except for a few lacking British accents, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for over-the-top scenes within a farce.
As Willey, Myers creates an entertaining character and displays sharp comedic talent. Equally as talented, Guest’s Pigden holds the show together. His antics are entertaining and hilarious. Playing the role of the body, Davin Allen Grindstaff shows great athleticism as he is hung on a coat rack, drug around the stage, and flipped back and forth. Through it all he never gives a hint of losing his composure, which is something that has bedeviled many physical comedy actors.
Of the featured roles, Graham gives the strongest performance as Ronnie. His angry tirades and quick turns to crying are comedic gold, and set up a few hilarious situations.
Mistaken identities, double entendres and slapstick comedy are common elements found in a farce, all of which are a plenty in Out of Order. But a show isn’t a farce without the slamming of doors. Out of Order offers plenty of door slams, but central to the story is a window that slams. Complete with an unstable, continuously-slamming window, Scenic Designer Chuck Welcome’s elegant hotel suite set is finished with the London skyline beyond the balcony.
Clocking in at just under two hours, including an intermission, this quick-paced show keeps you pulled into its hilarity at every moment. Stage Door Players’ Out of Order plays at Dunwoody’s North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center through October 14, 2012. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website.
– A. Wesley