farce is set in a suite at the four star Westminster Hotel London, just around
the corner from the House of Commons. It is around 8:30 one evening in September.
Time is the present.
Richard Willey, a Labour Junior Minister, plans, under the cover
of an all-night commons sitting, to spend the night in Suite 648 at the four star
Westminster Hotel, London, with Jane Worthington, one of the opposition’s junior
So the seeds are sown (or in Richard’s case, not) for a hilarious
Ray Cooney farce which won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the year in 1991.
Things start to go disastrously wrong early on; when expecting only to handle
Jane’s body, Richard (or Dickie as he likes Jane to call him) discovers the ‘body’
of a man trapped in the suite’s unreliable sash window.
to get out of what has suddenly become an extremely sticky situation, Richard
summons his trusty Parliamentary private secretary, George Pigden, to the Hotel
to sort things out.
The Hotel boasts the typical assortment of stereotypical
farce characters, such as a pompous interfering Hotel Manager, a sly old hotel
waiter whose seen it all before and knows he can earn hush money, and a Maid of
suspect Mediterranean origin who has little command of the English Language. With
their help things go from bad to worse. And in an attempt to move, hide, and disguise
the body in his hotel suite Richard sinks further and further into troubled waters
when forced to lie.
Further complications arise when Ronnie, the jealous husband
of Jane, arrives in a high state of agitation in search of his wife, who, because
he has suspected her for some time of having little tête-à-têtes in corner cafes,
has had her secretly followed.
Act Two continues where Act One finishes, when
the ‘Body’ starts to stir and then proceeds to have flashbacks. Two more characters
are introduced to confuse matters even more: Richard’s wife Pamela arrives unannounced
to surprise her husband, as she wants to hear him talk in the debate. The opened-mouth
George, ever the faithful PPS, attempts to create a smoke screen by declaring
his undying passion for her. She immediately, well almost immediately, responds
and, with the late arrival of Nurse Foster, who has been nursing George’s invalid
Mother, things really come to a Climax (or in Richard’s case…….)
The playing of farce relies on an ensemble of talented actors
that work together as a team. The delivery of the dialogue requires pacing, pausing
and pointing. Every part is an important element of a well-constructed farce and
commitment from each and everybody in the cast is the only way of achieving a
Martin 01883 625651
Richard Willey MP - Peter Damesick
A suave and successful MP.
He is a Junior Minister in the Labour Government. With a hands on approach to
Playing age around forty - forty-five. Audition pieces Page 1-5,
Costume 2-piece suit - Silk Dressing gown
George Pigden MP
- David Rose
Parliamentary Private Secretary to Richard Willey MP.
He is an upright pleasant man of a nervous disposition, easily confused, and is
forced to support his boss in a tangled web of deceit.
Playing age thirty
- forty. Audition Pieces Page 39-40, 47-48
Costume 2 piece Suit
Manager of the Hotel - Chris Hepher
A severe interfering man with little
or no humour who is only concerned for the reputation of his hotel.
age forties - sixties. Audition Pieces Page 1-2
Costume black jacket Black
waistcoat Pin Strip Trousers (these fall down in Act 2)
The Waiter in
the Hotel - Jimmy Rogers
A nimble and wily old servant with some nice
one-liners and facial expressions. Uses the situation to his advantage by obtaining
hush money at every opportunity.
Playing age fifties - sixties. Audition Pieces
Page 18-19 plus speech on page 22 Costume dark trousers - waistcoat - White jacket
The Maid in the hotel - Hilary Moore
A confused woman from somewhere
around the Mediterranean.
Playing age thirty - fifty. Audition Pieces Page
Costume dark dress with apron
Jane Worthington - Jo Emery
An attractive but dizzy young lady, who is one of a pool of secretaries at
the House of Commons serving the opposition party and in particular it’s Leader.
Playing age twenty - twenty-five. Audition Pieces Page 4-5, 60-61
Smart colourful day dress with zip down back Bra/knickers waisted petticoat
Ronnie Worthington - Jeremy Taylor
Husband to Jane. An angry and
fiercely jealous young man.
Playing age Twenty-five- thirty. Audition Pieces
Costume Light coloured trousers Jacket or sweater
Willey - Amanda Ryan
An attractive sophisticated woman, wife of Richard.
A typical MP’s wife. Playing age around forty. Audition Pieces Page 47-48
Costume Smart two-piece with matching hat and gloves coat
Gladys - Jackie
Barret A bossy but attractive nurse to George’s invalid Mother. Playing age
twenty-five - thirty-five. Audition Pieces Page 55-56 Costume Day dress - handbag
A man in a raincoat that gets moved around a lot. Ability
to fall an advantage. Playing age thirty - sixty. Audition Pieces Page 50
Costume Raincoat/coat peak cap - Old suit with bowler (waiters old demob suit)
containing business papers, Coloured (Richard)
Pictures (Bruce to supply)
Silver bowl of Caviare
Silver platter of Oysters
Plate with biscuits
Rose in a vase
Wallet containing £5 notes (George)
Dress (Check with Sandy)
Pile of Clothes
(check with Sandy)
Wheelchair (Pat to supply)
Money Clip (Richard)
Six £5 notes (Richard)
Loose change (Richard)
Note pad /pencil (waiter)
Key to Suite next door (could be Key card) (Waiter)
Pass key (Manager)
Blanket Overnight case (Pamela)
Silver Tray (Waiter)
Bundle of Clothes (Check with Sandy)
Bottle of Sleeping tablets (Waiter)
Dressing (liase with Muriel)