House and Garden, which are both written and directed by Ayckbourn, debuted at his Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough last year. They can be watched in either order or, indeed, as stand-alone pieces, though it's recommended that both are seen as they present different perspectives on a single day. They are set in the house and garden (as the titles would suggest) of the Platt estate on the day of the annual village fete.
Up at the house (in House), Teddy Platt (David Haig), host of the fete and the womanising lord of the manor, has dreams of a bright political future as the new local MP. His long-suffering wife Trish (Jane Asher) is denying his existence, and his best friend has just discovered who Teddy's latest mistress is. Meanwhile, down in the garden (in Garden), frenzied fete preparations are underway. Will the terribly famous French celebrity arrive in time to open the fete? Will the young maypole dancers pull it off? Is there someone sinister lurking in the bushes, and what exactly does go on in the fortune teller's tent?
Jane Asher has worked with Ayckbourn to much acclaim on Henceforward and The Things We Do for Love. Her other theatre credits include The School for Scandal and Strawberry Fields (both at the National), Making It Better (Hampstead and Criterion), Blithe Spirit (Vaudeville), Treats (Royal Court) and The Philanthropist (Royal Court, West End and Broadway). Television and film credits include The Volunteer, Paris by Night, Runners, Deep End, Alfie and Brideshead Revisited.
David Haig's theatre credits include Art (Wyndham's and Broadway), Dead Funny (Hampstead), Our Country's Good (Royal Court), Tom and Viv (Royal Court and Broadway) and Berenice (National). His film and television credits include The Thin Blue Line, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love on the Branch Line and Keeping Mum.
Haig and Asher are joined in the cast by Suzy Aitchison, James Bradshaw, Charlie Hayes, Peter Laird, Alexandra Mathie, Adrian McLoughlin, Antonia Pemberton, Michael Siberry, Nina Sosanya and Sian Thomas - all of whom will be running around backstage between the Olivier and the Lyttelton, House and Garden in a collective feat of timing and script recall.
Alan Ayckbourn is the long-serving artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre and the author of well over 50 plays, including A Small Family Business, Relatively Speaking, Way Upstream and Absurd Person Singular. His award-winning comedy about android love, Comic Potential, has just finished an extended West End run at the Lyric Theatre.