Theatre a la Carte has a hit with its Spring 2001 presentation of "Out of Order," a laugh-a-minute farce by English playwright Ray Cooney. The British locale is changed to the Plaza Hotel, with a New York State senator, who is planning an extra-marital rendezvous with one of Mayor Giuliani's secretaries, Jane Worthy.
Many hilarious complications ensue, from the moment the senator enters his Suite 648 and orders oysters and champagne from room service. State Sen. Richard Willey, pompous, devious, and a cad is acted by busy community theater character actor, Jimmy O'Neill. He tells his trustworthy assistant, George Pigden, that he is not to be disturbed, unless he is needed to support Governor Pataki, who is speaking at an all night meeting at City Hall. "Remember, George, not one word about the Plaza, and only call me if there is an absolute emergency," he tells his aide.
We see the senator is up to no good, when Jane Worthy, a long-legged blonde from Flushing, exits his bedroom, dressed in red lingerie. Jane is Linda May, who makes the most of the comedy's zany situations; especially in her scenes with her husband, Ronnie, who is a tough, loud construction worker. He is under the impression that his wife is visiting her aunt Rose in Canarsie.
The action is exacerbated when Willey finds a man's body trapped by the large picture window, as he is extolling the beautiful view from the room'' balcony. What will the senator and Jane do? They cannot call the police, since the press would have another scandal to headline.
Willey, at his wit's end, calls George Pigden, a frenetic character who is coerced into becoming an integral part of the phony scenarios concocted by the Senator to extricate himself from his predicament. "How are we to get rid of the body?" he asks Pigden. They eventually remove it from the window ledge, hanging it on a large hook in the closet "for the time being."
Richard Weyhausen (Pigden) who is an exceptional comedy maven, uses body language that ties the audience in knots
Another fine character actor is Nick DeCesare, recently seen in "The Late Christopher Bean" with St. Gregory's, and now deputing with TALC as the Plaza Manager, who has to make some sense of the crazy characters romping all over the sixth floor.
"The body" plays a substantial role in "Out of Order." Joseph Schweigert is dumped and hung in the closet, dressed in a borrowed, waiter's wedding suit replete with pink ruffled shirt: supported on either side by Willey and Pigden in a threesome singing and dancing to "Friendship"
Mary Lynch is Pamela, Willey's wife, who decides to spend a surprise, romantic evening with her husband at the Plaza. Her misadventures go from bedroom to bedroom, then closet where the body is hanging
Dave Jacobus has a tough attitude in his part of the husband hunting all over the Plaza Hotel for his wife, Jane. He is an Adonis who loves his wife very much.
As an unflappable, suave waiter/porter/generaI accommodator, Jim Azelvandre, a deadpan face actor, is hilarious as the tall, balding waiter who answers all the room service requests for a wheelchair, oysters and champagne and helps out providing his wedding suit to dress the body, as well as a dry observer of the unbelievable relationships which are playing out in suite 648.
Donna - in real life the pregnant wife of Dave Jacobus - played the Maid, who has the thankless job of bringing in the towels at inopportune moments, gave the part lots of flavor and color.
Gladys, the nurse who looks after Pigden's aged mother, is also caught in the rib-tickling comedy at the Plaza. Deborah Bekefi makes her debut with TALC.
Jegana Martin, producer and director, has once again given Queens Community Theater a rollicking good time, assisted by an ensemble cast.
Out of Order performances are weekends through May 6 at the Community Church of Douglaston, 39-59 Douglaston Parkway.
Call 718-631-4092 for reservations.
©2001 Community News Group
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