Tag Archives: Ayckbourn

Throwback #3


Is time flying by? In a period when you might expect it to be dragging it seems that the days are rushing past and the one week gap I planned between this post and the previous has become, apparently, an 18 day week.

Another case of time flying by is the thirteen years that have passed since we performed Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce.

About ‘Bedroom Farce’

Produced by Janet Drewery this was our last play of the 2007 season, performed in early May.

Trevor and Susannah, whose marriage is on the rocks, inflict their miseries on their nearest and dearest: three couples whose own relationships are tenuous at best.

Typically, Ayckbourn’s titles are misleading – Bedrooms are certainly featured but it’s not really a farce, but a comedy that takes place sequentially in the three beleaguered couples’ bedrooms during one endless Saturday night of co-dependence and dysfunction; beds, tempers, and domestic order are ruffled, leading all the players to a hilariously touching epiphany.

Our sets are always challenging but creating three bedrooms with beds, at different levels, on that stage was a special demand, not just for building it but for sourcing three beds (and disposing / returning them afterwards) and for the actors having to move throughout the play between the bedrooms. Even at dress rehearsal actors were heard to be shouting “Excuse me, just which bedroom am I supposed to be in at the moment please?” Although perhaps the true quotation was somewhat more blunt and explicit at the time.

The cast; ; Back row L to R, Rob Newton, Dianne Turner, Richard Bateman, Wendy Elliot
In bed: L to R Phil Johnson, Jayne Hewson, Gill Collins, Steve Howland.

Our dress rehearsal photos were not as well served in those days for some reason only a few non-digital prints were taken – but here they are – please scroll through the gallery.

As with most plays, not everything went to plan, although the audience is (usually) unaware. This play remains in our memory for the broken finger incident. On the first night Jayne tripped and fell over a stage prop on the very condensed stage. The result, not immediately obvious other than the blinding pain, was a broken finger. This misfortune made it somewhat difficult for her to do the quick costume change backstage and even harder to carry out a comedy scene where she was undressed in bed and was supposed to put on a dress whilst under the covers. Working with one hand she managed to put the dress on – back to front – a longer than expected scene as she agonisingly corrected the problem while the Producer wondered what was happening as, to the audience, the bed took on the appearance of a sack of ferrets having a fight.

Most of the cast were very concerned about her while I, in my usual state of self-absorbed oblivion back stage between scenes, somehow remained ignorant of the situation, even to the extent that when she stepped briefly into the wings, pale faced and in anguish, lifted her hand with her little finger twisted in an unnatural position and mouthed (so she told me later) “it’s definitely broken” I simply grinned and gave her a thumbs up and mouthed ‘Great!”

My apparent lack of empathy and social awareness on that day remains a talking point, and my intuitive lip reading ability is still non-existent.

With her fingers bound after an A&E visit, she was able to perform the following nights, albeit with difficulty in those awkward on stage scenes. Well, as they say – “the show must…..” – you know the rest.

Backstage crew: Rachel Miller, Janet Drewery (Producer), Barbara Failey, Tina Addington, Dave Ralph and Bernard Reuben (in front)

More reminiscences and a dive into the archives in our next post!

RolePlay Photos

We promised to show you a selection of photos from our dress rehearsal.  As usual Dave Hackett was kindly on-hand to shoot away as we did our final run through.

Click on any photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow

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All RolePlay’d out

It seems crazy. Just twelve weeks from initial move blocking to dismantling the set after the play.  A frenzied few days of set building, a performance week and then dismantling and packing away and by Sunday 1pm it was as though it had never happened – except for the buzz and the thrill of performing a wonderful script and the appreciative feedback of our audiences.

Justin’s riverside apartment

We were proud of the set which, as usual, was constructed over a weekend.  Somehow we were able to create within that limited space a lounge and galley kitchen, and the all-important balcony overlooking the river.

Backstage, the audience is in and 10 minutes to go to the final performance

As Derek and Dee Jobson, backstage, waiting to go on

The cast and their curtain call line-up

It was an enjoyable evening for all, not least for new member Gary (2nd from R), who successfully completed his first acting performance as ex-boxer and minder, Micky.

The after play party on the stage


RolePlay’s Director Jayne, justifiably pleased with the production, having after play drinks with Richard who had co-ordinated the construction of the set.  Without the help of his friends and other local supporters of our group we would not be able to complete our ambitious sets.

Jayne found time to bake a celebratory RolePlay cake to follow the pizzas and flowing wine

Our Monday night our General meeting confirmed what we already knew, that the play had proved popular with our audiences and that our ticket sales had led once again to almost capacity nights.  And we are seeing increasing numbers of new faces in our audiences too.

We can’t wait to show you our photos from the dress rehearsal performance in our next post, which will appear this week.

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RolePlay Programme
Our programme centre spread




Ready to RolePlay

Wednesday night was our Dress Rehearsal for Ayckbourn’s RolePlay.  It was a good night that in itself deserved an audience – well, we shall see what tonight brings. It’s first night and the nerves will be tingling, the heart rate up and the adrenaline pumped.  We are all looking forward to our short run.


The stage is set and ready to go

Backstage a scene of organised chaos

Rob (L) appearing relaxed on sound & lights & Dave Hackett (R) sets up for rehearsal photos (which, as usual will be available on here after the run)


Our Producer,Jayne, after Dress rehearsal seems happy with her work – now its all down to the cast and backstage to deliver.

We are ready to RolePlay!

Some tickets still available – click here