The Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge opened the deliciously bawdy British farce by Ray Cooney, this week, and it’s one laugh after another in this fast-paced bit of theater that’s probably too off-color for the kids.
That’s right — there’s faux humping, genitalia jokes, a character parading around in a bra, slip, garters and pantyhose, one blindingly bare backside exiting stage left, a dead body and plenty of slapstick British humor to boot.
It seems to take a surprising amount of talent to play a dead body in live theater, first off, and Kevin Schwarz pulls it off remarkably well. He goes limp this way and that as he’s manhandled by the would-be-wife-cheating Richard “Dickey” Willey (Raja Salaymeh), who finds the body crushed in the malfunctioning window in his sixth-floor suite at the Westminister Hotel.
Mr. Willey, who is not supposed to be at the hotel at all but rather at an all-night sitting at the House of Commons, seeks to hide the deceased stranger to avoid exposing his secret about the almost-tryst with his secretary, Jane Worthington (Jenny Weiss). After hoisting the body into his room’s “cupboard” (British for “closet”), he calls his assistant, George Pidgon (Eric Mather), a mama’s boy who comes over, lured by false pretense, only to be embroiled deeper and deeper into the thickening plot and to emerge an unlikely lady-killer at the end.
The hotel manager (Owen T. Niland) is good for plenty of hot-air-filled laughs with his emphatic pronunciations of “wh” in place of “w,” his constant invading of personal space, and his propensity for repeating what other people say. Characters like the waiter (first-time actor Jason Tyler Vaughn), Richard Willey’s wife Pamela (Cathy Salaymeh), and Miss Worthington’s husband Ronnie (Kevin Lowry) are also great at grabbing laughs.
After Mr. Willey rents a room next door for George Pigdon to use as a honeymoon suite with his supposed new wife, Miss Worthington (and uses it as a place to relocate the body) the traffic increases frantically between rooms via both the balcony and hallway. And, various characters make plenty of trips in and out of the cupboard throughout the show. Suffice it to say, there’s never a dull moment in the increasingly complex mayhem of activity that takes place onstage for the duration of the Backstage Theatre’s successful production of “Out of Order.”
Seth Caikowski (Backstage”s “The Full Monty”) directs, with Backstage artistic director Christopher Willard producing.
The show runs now through March 23. Tickets range from $17-$22 and are cheapest or can be purchased by calling (970) 453-0199.
For more info, see Colorado Mountain College English teacher Colin Carman’s take on the production in the rehearsal stage in last week”s Summit Daily article, or visit the rowdy bunch of Backstagers on Facebook.