2017 has been a bumper year for Break A Leg, we’ve literally been all over the place in as many theatres as possible and loving every minute.
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.
“Caroline Langrishe is playing the role of my wife [in Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves] and I filmed a Midsomer Murders episode with her last December!”
My year would not be complete without a spot of Masquerade and Chiquitita! Here’s the best of what I’ve been watching in the West End this year.
Ahead of rounding up various publications #theatre2016 highlights, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my own theatregoing year and my favourite plays, musicals, performances and other events.
Sharp and comic timing is needed to really make this Alan Ayckbourn play really work – thankfully, the cast keep things moving with great pace and energy.
Happy Independence Day to our American friends. As we charge headlong into July, here are a few hot show openings this month that you need to keep an eye out for: American Idiot, Blanc de Blanc, Exposure, Groundhog Day, How the Other Half Loves and I’m Getting My Act Together…
Bill Kenwright’s West End production of Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps How The Other Half Loves is moving house. The comedy, which has enjoyed huge public and critical acclaim since it opened in March, will extend its West End run, transferring from the Theatre Royal Haymarket to the Duke of York’s from 7 July – 1 October 2016.
In this theatre diary catch-up, I want to concentrate on five top plays – four of them which also make Mark Shenton’s Top Ten list and three of them led from the front by stunning female performances and also Olivier laden.
Written before he had become one of the nation’s most prolific playwrights, yet as ever focusing upon his hallmark theme of domestic dysfunctionality, How The Other Half Loves is Alan Ayckbourn’s 1969 effort, viewed through the prism of well-performed comedy.
Alan Ayckbourn’s 1069 tale of matrimonial mishaps is back in London for its first major West End revival. But what have the critics made of it? How the Other Half Loves continues until 25 June 2016 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
We’re back in the 1960’s, and how! Beyond the jolly geometric curtain a bygone world revives. Shiny pink plastic boots, a ridiculous frilled sub-Laura-Ashley print dinner frock. Nicholas le Prevost doing breathless “Swedish jerks” before setting out for work with bowler and brolly, and coming home to prod suspiciously at an avocado pear, while entertaining a shy colleague for the sake of old-fashioned departmental teamwork.
Post-show Q&A: What’s the essence of good comedy? And what marks out an Alan Ayckbourn comedy in particular? What does the UK’s most prolific, produced playwright (80 plays and counting) demand of actors and directors? And, despite the (often onerous, occasionally near-impossible) demands, why do actors and directors relish coming back for more?
Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How The Other Half Loves will appear in the West End this spring. At turns heart-wrenching and hilarious, Ayckbourn’s tale of social graces and personal misunderstanding remains one of the celebrated writer’s most famous comedies. The 1969 classic – the first of Ayckbourn’s plays to be staged on Broadway – returns to London to play the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Wednesday 23 March – Saturday 25 June 2016 and is produced by Bill Kenwright.