Alan Ayckbourn's recently transferred "Damsels in Distress" trilogy has undergone a major change to its West End performance schedule, which will put RolePlay - the final, and most favourably reviewed, play in the series - into pole position.

Rather than continuing with all three plays in repertory, from Monday 30 September 2002, the Duchess Theatre will present RolePlay throughout the week, with Monday to Saturday evening performances at 7.30pm and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Saturdays will remain as "trilogy days", when all three comedies will be performed: with FlatSpin at 11.30am, GamePlan at 3.30pm and RolePlay at 7.30pm.

The "Damsels" trilogy - constituting the prolific Ayckbourn's 58th, 59th and 60th plays - premiered last summer at the playwright's own Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. It opened in the West End on 7 September 2002 (previews from 4 September) following two extensive regional tours.

All three "Damsels" are entirely separate comedies, but they are written to be performed by the same cast, using the same set (a luxury apartment in London's Docklands). The original seven-strong company - Robert Austin, Saskia Butler, Bill Champion, Tim Faraday, Jacqueline King, Alison Pargeter and Beth Tuckey - reprise their roles in each.

All three plays are directed by Ayckbourn himself and designed by Roger Glossop, with costumes by Christine Wall and lighting by Mick Hughes. The trilogy is presented in the West End by Michael Codron, Lee Dean, Michael Linnit, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment.

RolePlay - along with the trilogy Saturdays - are currently booking at the Duchess Theatre up to 30 November 2002.

- by Terri Paddock