If one has seen a number of plays by a playwright and realised that one doesn't really enjoy that playwright's works, then it's not unreasonable for one to respond unfavourably to news of a new play by said playwright. And if you think my response to a new Ayckbourn play is unfairly negative, you should see my response to new Richard Bean plays.
Also Jan does make the excellent point that Ayckbourn's best material is character-based - if this new work looks too much at the concept and not enough at the characters, then it has the potential to go very easily from "not my bag" to "complete unadulterated nightmare".
Also say what you like but that time commitment is a factor- especially at the fringe. Like Baemax I'm not a big fan, but for a relatively short and cheap piece I might be persuaded. For committing my whole day, when there are many many other options...I'll pass!
Name one modern playwright who has written both successful hit comedies and successful serious (i.e. Non-comic) dramas. I mean plays that are clearly in one genre or the other, rather than a bit of both in a single play. There are not many. Michael Frayn. Stoppard.
I agree Jan; it's not that widely achieved - or even attempted. But perhaps it should be encouraged more. The Coen Brothers regularly go between comedy and drama on film. Various writers have done it across television - Dennis Kelly for one, and I believe that the new Phoebe Waller Bridge TV show (called Killing Eve) is a drama/thriller.
They've finally announced the dates and cast for the Old Vic performances of Alan Ayckbourn's upcoming new two-part play 'The Divide'. Explicitly mentioning George Orwell and Margaret Atwood sets a pretty high bar, but the premise looks really exciting:
The Divide is set in the aftermath of a deadly contagion which, a century from now, has decimated the English population and rendered contact between men and women fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive Preacher, an unthinkable solution is enforced. Separated by the Divide, the adult survivors are segregated by gender, as men wear white as a mark of their purity, and women – still infected – are clothed in black as a sign of their sin.
Brother and sister Elihu (Jake Davies) and Soween (Erin Doherty) grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for Giella (Weruche Opia), the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution. The Divide is a vision of a dystopian future defined by brutal repression and forbidden love.
Did anyone here go to the semi-staged performance in 2015? Some tickets are already on sale, but the Old Vic site doesn't yet seem to show the part 1/2 split very clearly. Anyway, can't wait.
Short run, and no opportunity to build on positive press from Edinburgh (of course, the converse is also true if it bombs in Edinburgh). Unlikely to transfer I'd have thought.... So an intriguing proposition... but I'm on holiday during the entire run so at least that decision is taken for me!
I'm sorry I don't think Ayckbourn can do future very well....and his recent plays have been pretty dire.On the other hand it is lovely to see something I DON'T have to book!!! It has a certain pleasure all of its own!
Late arrival to the beauty that is theatre, always early to the actual show!
Brother and sister Elihu (Jake Davies) and Soween (Erin Doherty)
Erin Dohery is a wonderful young actress, captivating in Wish List and, on a much bigger stage, in Junkyard - I've just booked to see her as Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic in October, and will try and see this (though I don't like the Old Vic as a space - too big and expensive!). I'm not familiar with Jake Davies, but he was in Yen and has a long CV already.