Ayckbourn's 53rd Play Opens at Lyric, 13 OctDate: 29 July 1999
Former Starsky and Hutch TV copper David Soul will star in Comic Potential, Alan Ayckbourn's 53rd play, which opens at the West End's Lyric Theatre on 13 October 1999 (previews from 12 October). The play premiered to favourable reviews, sans Soul, last year in Ayckbourn's own Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.
Written and directed by Ayckbourn, the sci-fi romance takes place in the near future when soap stars have been replaced by actoids, pre-programmed acting androids. Soul plays the human scriptwriter who sees the spark of comic potential in Janie Dee's actoid and falls in love.
Although perhaps best-known for his Hutch incarnation and recording forays, Soul has worked extensively in theatre. Most recently, he appeared in Nick Darke's The Dead Monkey, which he also co-produced, when it ran at the fringe New End Theatre in Hampstead and briefly at the Whitehall Theatre in the West End. He has also played the Narrator in the West End production of Willy Russell's Blood Brothers, a role he originated in Australia and New Zealand.
Janie Dee, who starred in the original Scarborough run of Comic Potential, was nominated for Best Actress in the Time Out Fringe Awards for another Ayckbourn production, the compilation Between the Lines. She also won an Olivier for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production of Carousel. Other theatre credits include Enter the Guardsman (Donmar Warehouse), The Sound of Music (Sheffield Crucible) and several recent productions under Ayckbourn's tutelage at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, including his linked plays House and Garden.
Alan Ayckbourn's last play in the West End, Things We Do for Love, had an 11-month run last year, first at the Gielgud and then at the Duchess Theatres, before embarking on a national tour which sees it currently in Edinburgh.