Ray Cooney

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  FILM RIGHTS LTD
in association with LAURENCE FITCH LTD
Ray Cooney began his theatrical career as a boy actor in "Song of Norway" at the Palace Theatre in 1946. He served his apprenticeship by playing in various repertory companies from Worthing to Blackburn before graduating to Brian Rix’s company at the Whitehall Theatre in 1956. He played "Dry Rot" and "Simple Spymen" and then began a writing career which, to date, has produced seventeen West End plays including "One for the Pot" (co-written with Tony Hilton), "Not Now Darling", "Move Over Mrs Markham", "There Goes the Bride" (all co-written with John Chapman) "Chase me Comrade", Why Not Stay For Breakfast?", "Wife Begins at Forty", "Run for your Wife!", "Two into One", "Out of Order", "It Runs in the Family" and "Funny Money".
As Producer and Director he has been responsible for over thirty London productions, including "Lloyd George Knew My Father", "Whose Life is it Anyway?", "They’re Playing Our Song", "Duet for One", "Bodies", "Chicago", "Clouds" and "Children of a Lesser God".
In 1983, Ray formed the Theatre of Comedy Company (bringing together the founder members consisting of Thirty West End stars) and he became its first Artistic Director. During Ray’s tenure the company produced over twenty plays including "Run for Your Wife", "Out of Order", "Two into One", "Passion Play", and the acclaimed revivals of "See How they Run", "Loot", "When We are Married" and "Pygmalion" starring Peter O’Toole and John Thaw.
During Ray’s hectic theatrical career he has always found time to continue acting and played the last year of "Run for your Wife" in London before appearing in the New York production. Recently he played the lead in "It Runs in the Family" and "Funny Money".
Ray has been married to Linda for nearly thirty five years and apart from their son Michael (author of "Cash on Delivery!") they have an elder son Danny who lives in Australia with his wife and two children.
RAY COONEY

CHASE ME COMRADE (F) 7M 3F
RUN FOR YOUR WIFE (C) 6M 2F
TWO INTO ONE

RAY COONEY AND TONY HILTON

BANG BANG BEIRUT (F) 7M 4F
ONE FOR THE POT (F) 6M 3F

RAY COONEY AND GENE STONE

WHY NOT STAY FOR BREAKFAST (C) 3M 2F

RAY COONEY AND JOHN CHAPMAN

THERE GOES THE BRIDE (F) 4M 4F
NOT NOW DARLING (F) 5M 6F
MOVE OVER MRS MARKHAM (F) 4M 5F
MY GIDDY AUNT (Comedy/Thriller) 5M 3F

Play synopses

CHASE ME COMRADE by Ray Cooney
1 set, 7 males, 3 females

A Russian ballet dancer defects to Briatin and a riot of comedy reigns as he tangles with a British naval commander, russian agents, the local constabulary and well-meaning friends. "Splendidly funny … agonies of helpless laughter" – The Guardian

RUN FOR YOUR WIFE by Ray Cooney
1 set, 6 males, 2 females

John Smith is a London taxi driver who happens to have two wives and a very tight schedule to keep. All’s well until an accident interrupts his busy schedule and the forces of law and order become involved. "Should run for life" Sunday Express

TWO INTO ONE by Ray Cooney
1 multiple set, 5 males, 5 females

In this forerunner to OUT OF ORDER, Richard Willey MP is trying to seduce one of the Prime Minister’s secretaries. George Pidgen, his aide, manages to bungle the whole plan, leaving staff and guests reeling in confusion.

OUT OF ORDER by Ray Cooney
1 set, 6 males, 4 females

Conservative Government MP, Richard Willey, is attempting to have an affair with one of the secretaries of the leader of the Opposition in a top London hotel. However, with a conniving waiter, a suspicious hotel manager, an alert private detective, an angry wife, a furious husband, a bungling secretary, and unconscious nurse and a dead body, nothing is going to go as planned.

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY by Ray Cooney
1 set, 7 males, 4 females

Set in the doctor’s common room of a London Hospital, Dr David Morton is rehearsing his speech for the prestigious Ponsonby Lecture, which could lead to his knighthood, when in bursts an old flame, hotly pursued by her (their?) son, who is hotly pursued by the police. Impersonations and rehearsals for the hospital pantomime all make for a delightfully frantic farce.

FUNNY MONEY by Ray Cooney
1 set, 6 males, 2 females

Jean is preparing a birthday dinner for her mild mannered accountant husband. When he arrives he is not himself and suggests they emigrate to Barcelona. The reason is that Henry has found a briefcase containing 735,000. Other guests at the dinner are forced into a game of cat and mouse when two police inspectors call. "A mechanical masterpiece of manufactured mirth" – Spectator

WIFE BEGINS AT FORTY, by Arne Sultan, Earl Barrett, & Ray Cooney  
1 set, 4 males, 2 females

George and Linda Harper’s 17 year old marriage has gone stale. George goes out and Linda has a chance to "find herself". However, when George returns to the family home a few weeks later to sort out maintenance, he and Linda discover that the flames of passion are not quite dead.

BANG BANG BEIRUT by Ray Cooney and Tony Hilton
Farce 7M 4F l set

A riotous farce set in a hotel somewhere in the Middle East. An English variety artiste who is performing in the town gets unwillingly dragged into a plot to spirit the young king out of his country before the revolutionaries get him. Needless to say, the pace is fast, furious and hilarious and it all ends happily.

ONE FOR THE POT by Ray Cooney and Tony Hilton
Farce 6M 3F l set.

A highly successful farce, and one which provides a hilarious evening's entertainment. It all revolves around a young man, HICKORY WOOD, who has to prove he is the only child of a former business associate of a rich mill owner in order to receive 10,000. Unfortunately, his efforts are thwarted and complicated by the arrival of the other claimants, creating some first class and uproariously funny situations. 'The public will love it and rightly so'. The Times.

WHY NOT STAY FOR BREAKFAST? by Gene Stone and Ray Cooney
Comedy. M3 F2 A Flat.

GEORGE CLARKE: neat, prim, but by no means without humour; late 30s. LOUISE HAMILTON: hippy-type, north country, with outward air of almost arrogant self-confidence; about l7. DAVEY: much more hippy than Louise, tall, well set-up, attractive, could be Scots; young. A HIPPY BOY. A HIPPY GIRL.

GEORGE CLARKE is a civil servant, a respected member of the Establishment, once married, now on his own. He lives in a flat in a converted Hampstead house. The apartment above is inhabited by hippies, and their noise often disturbs his peace. One evening young LOUISE HAMILTON arrives on his doorstep. She has had a row with young DAVEY in their 'pad' upstairs. She is also very pregnant. The clash between the hippy and the square types is at full strength when LOUISE suddenly starts labour pains. GEORGE takes charge, the baby is born, and both it and LOUISE remain in the flat for the time being. Gradually, their relationship deepens, and despite many crises a bridge seems to have been built between a drop-out from, and a member of, present-day society.

MY GIDDY AUNT  by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Comedy Thriller. 5M 3F. l set.

Set in LADY EPPINGHAM'S house in India, this play has all the superb comedy that one would expect from the masters of farce, plus a good measure of thrills. The eccentric but aristocratic LADY EPPINGHAM lives in a world of fantasy and past glory of the Empire, while the running of her tea estate is left in the hands of her unscrupulous nephews. But when BEATRICE HORROCKS, LADY EPPINGHAM'S half-sister of decidedly lowly birth arrives to claim her right to manage the estate, the situation changes and in a series of hilariously funny scenes, she slowly but surely sorts everything out and unmasks the schemes of her nephews.

MOVE OVER MRS MARKHAM by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Farce. M4 F5 l set.

PHILIP MARKHAM, a publisher of children's books, is asked by his business partner, HENRY LODGE, if he can borrow the flat for the evening to gallivant with his latest girlfriend. As PHILIP and his wife will be out, he reluctantly agrees. At the same time, JOANNA MARKHAM is being persuaded by LINDA LODGE, to let her borrow the empty flat in order to entertain her lover. With some misgivings, JOANNA agrees. What nobody knows is that the interior designer who has been decorating the flat for the past three months has decided that this is the night that he and the au pair girl will try out the new oval bed. When the MARKHAM'S evening out is cancelled, it is too late to let any of the parties know and three sets of hopeful lovers all converge on the bedroom at the same time. The situation is further complicated by the arrival of OLIVE HARRIET SMYTHE, a straightlaced authoress of children's books. The frantic efforts of the MARKHAMS to hide the amorous goings-on and, at the same time sign up MISS SMYTHE, lead to a hectic and hilarious evening.

NOT NOW DARLING by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Farce 5M 6F l set.

The tremendously successful West End hit set in the elegant fur salon BODLEY, BODLEY & CROUCH. GILBERT BODLEY, a flamboyant extrovert, is scheming to seduce a beautiful stripper, JANIE, with the aid of a 5,000 mink. Unfortunately, she is married and her husband HARRY, would notice such an acquisition. So GILBERT reduces the mink to 500 and JANIE tries to get HARRY to buy the coat for her, GILBERT paying the difference. HARRY realises a bargain when he sees one and buys it instead for his own curvacious little secretary, SUE. GILBERT is quite demented by this turn of events and both he and his dithering assistant, ARNOLD CROUCH, are further embarrassed when JANIE strips and refuses to leave the salon without the mink. Their frenzied attempts to retrieve the coat from and hide the naked JANIE are further complicated by the unexpected arrival of GILBERT'S wife, MAUD. Meanwhile, ARNOLD'S method of hiding any discarded ladies underwear is to throw them out of the window and it is left to MISS TIPDALE, the firm's spinster secretary, to retrieve the garments and the situation whenever necessary. The hilarious permutations reach a point of hysteria before everyone gets their just deserts.

THERE GOES THE BRIDE by Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Farce 4M 4F l set.

Getting a bride ready is always a trying time but when the bride's mother is 'helped' by interfering relatives, and the brid e's father is in the process of falling in love with a seductive girl that only he can see, and more ........you can guarantee that

COONEY and CHAPMAN make sure that a good time is had by all. 'This farce has pace, precision and wit.....gets madder and funnier as it goes along." Daily Mirror.

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