Scarborough Premieres Ayckbourn's 58th & 59thDate: 9 April 2001
Audiences at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre (SJT) this summer will see not one but two new comedies from Alan Ayckbourn, the theatre's long-serving artistic director, who also happens to be the country's most prolific playwright. GamePlan premieres on 29 May and continues to 25 August 2001 (previews from 24 May) and FlatSpin premieres on 3 July and continues to 8 September 2001 (previews from 28 June).
GamePlan and FlatSpin are, respectively, Ayckbourn's 58th and 59th plays. Similar to his recent House and Garden twin set, which ran last year at the National following their premieres in Scarborough, the new pieces - collectively titled Damsels in Distress - are specially written to be performed by the same cast. However, unlike House and House, Damsels in Distress are performed in repertoire, rather than simultaneously, and though they utilise the same set, they are entirely separate stories.
In GamePlan, Lynette finds herself a single parent whose lifestyle is rapidly dwindling after her business collapses and her husband disappears. The future looks bleak, but then she hasn't reckoned on her teenaged daughter Sorrel's last ditch attempts to save them both. Will Sorrel succeed or will her desperate "game plan" plunge them both into even greater trouble?
In FlatSpin, Joanna is set for a night of romance in her luxurious riverside apartment with the good-looking stranger from next door. Except that the flat isn't hers, her name isn't Joanna it's Rosie, and heaven knows what the stranger from next door is really after. Nothing is what it seems and Rosie, instead of romance, suddenly finds herself in considerable danger.
Both Damsels in Distress plays will be performed in SJT's Round auditorium. They join Torben Betts's Clockwatching in repertoire there. Clockwatching, which follows the fortunes of one family as they grapple with the trials and temptations that life throws at them, is a collaboration with Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre, where it is currently playing. Its run at Scarborough is from 15 May to 11 July 2001 (previews from 11 May).
Alan Ayckbourn's many other successful comedies include A Small Family Business, Relatively Speaking, Way Upstream and Absurd Person Singular. His most recent productions to transfer to the West End were Things We Do for Love, starring Jane Asher, and the Olivier award-winning comedy about android love, Comic Potential.
- by Terri Paddock