in Woman In Mind at Chichester Festival Theatre Susan finds herself in mid-life with a dull clerical husband (Nigel Lindsay really enjoying it), obsessed with his dreary parish history pamphlet. His gloomy beige sister lives with them; Muriel (Stephanie Jacob equally relishing every stumping step and grudge). She believes she can conjure up the spirit of her dead husband, and cooks the worst possible food (for an Alan Ayckbourn play this one is short on big laughs, but the good ones are about her omelettes and coffee). Their son has run off to join a cult in Hemel Hempstead.
We always knew that among the first sproutings of recovery would be a few Alan Ayckbourns, popping up as welcome as snowdrops. I am always fond of this early one, with its deadly-accurate eye on the British qualities of embarrassed, pained civility and insane reluctance to ask the straight and obvious question.
London’s Jermyn Street Theatre has announced its first full season since reopening with the Footprints Festival earlier this year. The Encounters Season, which runs from mid-September to the end of the year, features some of the UK’s best-known stage names.
The piece in question is Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door which harks back to earlier plays such as Whenever, Miss Yesterday, Surprises and especially Communicating Doors in its central conceit of time travel.
I’ve selected 20 of the things that inspired, moved, amused and delighted, which have pushed the boundaries of what it possible and continued to fly the flag for theatre in the UK.
It is sometimes possible to get a better perspective on a play through experiencing it as a piece of audio drama rather than seeing it live on stage and I found this to be the case with Haunting Julia by Alan Ayckbourn.
Perfectly pitched: Anno Domino has all of the hallmarks of classic Ayckbourn – razor-sharp observation, subtle skewering of preconceptions, and exploration of murky hidden depths.
The Stephen Joseph Theatre will present the world premiere of a new play by Alan Ayckbourn, Anno Domino, which will be available as an audio recording free online for one month.
A review of Ten Times Table by Alan Ayckbourn currently at Richmond Theatre . Still has resonance.
Underneath Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present beats Ayckbourn’s sorrowful, understanding heart, showing us that comedy is just tragedy on its way to happening.
A rare summer in the city for me means I can take in some of the family shows on in the West End right now – including Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear the Musical, The Scarecrow’s Wedding, Where is Peter Rabbit? and Monstersaurus.
Last night I found myself both onstage and in the audience at the same time – neat trick if you can do it and I have done… on more than one occasion.
Where is Peter Rabbit? is a charming family musical with some beautifully designed puppets – maybe Peter Rabbit needs to be found a bit sooner next time.
My one grudge against the Old Laundry’s loving Beatrix Potter production Where is Peter Rabbit? – first aired three years ago – is that they waited till my youngest toddler was 31.
News, reviews, controversies and commentary from the West End and Broadway, including the first West End job share and the re-opening of the Kiln Theatre (formerly the Tricycle).
I’ve been raving about Julius Caesar to everyone over the past few weeks, and particularly the experience of seeing it in the pit of the staggeringly versatile Bridge Theatre.
Alan Ayckbourn’s epic, very, very long satire on religion and sexual segregation prefers comedy to tragedy.
30 years or so into a career that has seen her win two Olivier awards (so far – I’d watch out for her to be at least nominated for Follies, if not more), it seems remarkable that Janie Dee at the BBC is actually Dee’s debut album.
In my humble opinion, the ultimate specialist in farce is Alan Ayckbourn and nowhere is my point more finely demonstrated than in How The Other Half Loves. A classic, fast-paced, quick-humour-packed bundle of confusion and chaos which it could be so easy to lose the thread of if it’s not directed and performed on point.
Seeing the plays from different perspectives felt appropriate as that is the nature of Ayckbourn’s trilogy written in 1973. Three times we visit the same group of six characters over the same weekend but based in a different part of the house.