From: Monday, 18th February 2013
To: Saturday, 23 February 2013
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Surprises is a new comedy set in the future while its characters hearts remain tied to the past. When a stranger materialises in young Grace's bedroom, is he really who he claims to be? Can there be everlasting love for Grace's parents when death is postponed indefinitely? Has infallible lawyer Lorraine finally found her ideal partner, and can her lonely secretary Sylvia also meet Mr Right after years of unhappy affairs?
20 February 2013
Alan Ayckbourn’s latest piece is one of his occasional ventures into the realm of sci-fi. There’s some advanced technology, an android, and even a smattering of time travel. Yet despite the futuristic twist, this is fundamentally a play about relationships. As is frequently the case in Ayckbourn, they’re mostly not happy relationships – but that doesn’t prevent there from being a good number of laughs along the way.
Plots involving non-standard timelines run the risk of being confusing, but in this case the story is clearly told by a small but energetic cast, doubling and sometimes tripling to cover all the roles. The fifty year time span the play covers presents its own challenges (it’s made clear early on that advances in cosmetic surgery mean everyone is very well preserved), but it does provide a welcome chance to see multiple aspects of the major characters as events unfold.
The stand-out performance for me was Richard Stacey as the android Jan – not an easy type of role...
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