Firth's Safari Party Opens New Scarborough SeasonDate: 25 April 2002
Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre launches its spring/summer 2002 season tonight with the world premiere of Tim Firth’s new stage comedy, The Safari Party, which runs from 25 April to 18 May 2002. The season then continues with two more premieres - by Bernard Farrell and SJT artistic director Alan Ayckbourn respectively - and a revival of one of Ayckbourn's best-loved comedies from the 1970s.
Somewhat different from its African equivalent, a safari party in deepest Cheshire involves tottering from house to house having a different course of meal at the home of each couple. But there are no shortage of ambushes, traps and dangerous predators.
Firth is best known to theatregoers for his 1993 hit comedy Neville's Island, which also premiered in Scarborough before transferring to the West End, where it was nominated for four Olivier Awards. His other stage credits include End of the Food Chain, Heartlands, A Man of Letters and the book for the upcoming Madness musical, Our House, which opens at the West End's Cambridge Theatre in October. He has also written extensively for television, most notably series the award-winning Preston Front.
The cast for The Safari Party are Amanda Abbington, John Branwell, Daniel Casey, Daniel Crowder, Christine Moore and Helen Ryan. The production is directed by Ayckbourn and designed by Michael Holt, with lighting by Kath Geraghty.
It's followed in the SJT schedule by the UK premiere production of Bernard Farrell's Happy Birthday, Dear Alice, about a widow with a faulty deaf aid who doesn't want to follow her children's nursing home plans. A co-production with the Orange Tree Theatre, it opens in Richmond this week before transferring to Scarborough from 22 May to 6 July.
Ayckbourn's latest play, Snake in the Grass, which he is also directing, runs from 30 May to 7 September. For Annabel and her sister Miriam, their sunlit garden is filled with deeply buried childhood memories. But when night falls, is it only the past which comes back to haunt them? This Ayckbourn world premiere is joined in repertory, from 11 July to 7 September, by a revival of his 1978 comedy Joking Apart.
- by Terri Paddock