Monday, July 28, 2014

This Week: 28 July 2014

Welcome to This Week, our regular guide to major Ayckbourn productions in the coming seven days, a look back on the Ayckbourn news of the last seven days and a look at some significant Ayckbourn anniversaries from this week in years past.

This Week & Coming soon:
Until 27 August: A Small Family Business at the National Theatre
Until 31 August: The Boy Who Fell Into A Book at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.
7 - 9 August: The Norman Conquests at the Theatro Technis, Camden, London

News Round Up:
> This week marks the 55th anniversary of the opening of Alan Ayckbourn's first full-length play The Square Cat and the 45th anniversary of his classic play How The Other Half Loves. Both opened at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1959 and 1969 respectively.
> The new musical adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book is now running at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, with the official opening tomorrow night. Visit www.sjt.uk.com for further details.
Celebrating Ayckbourn at the Samuel French website continues its exploration of Alan Ayckbourn's plays this week.

Anniversaries:
30 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's first play The Square Cat at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1959.
30 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Henceforward... at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 1987.
31 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's first play How The Other Half Loves at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1969.
1 August: London premiere of A Chorus Of Disapproval at the National Theatre in 1985.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Boy Who Fell Into A Book

The new musical adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book is now running at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
Evelyn Hoskins as Kevin, the boy who falls into a book
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
Directed by Alan Ayckbourn, the musical has been adapted by Paul James with music by Cathy Shostak and Eric Angus and is the first of Alan's plays to have been adapted into a musical.
For Alan Ayckbourn, it has been a new experience directing an adaptation of his own work, but he feels that Paul, Cathy and Eric have created something he has enjoyed working on.
"They’ve caught the spirit of the play very closely and they obviously love it because otherwise you can’t work on something you don’t like. I think they’re as passionate about it as I was when I first wrote the play. As a director, I’ll hitch onto that!"
Katie Birtill as Monique
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
The play features Evelyn Hoskins as Kevin with Nicolas Colicos as the pulp detective Rockfist Slim alongside Katie Birtill, Natasha J Barnes, John Barr and Stephen Matthews.
It follows Kevin's adventures after he falls into the pages of Rockfist Slim's latest adventure, leading the pair into an unlikely friendship as they try to find the way back to Kevin's bedroom through the books on his book-shelf whilst avoiding the evil machinations of Rockfist's nemesis The Green Shark.
Delighted with the adaptation, Alan believes this is a show which will appeal to all ages - or anyone who enjoyed reading a book! - and will appeal to the entire family.
"I think The Boy Who Fell Into A Book lends itself to a musical because it has this fantasy element to it and it is a family show - it’s not a children’s show, definitely a family show - and it’s a play for anyone who was a child and anyone who read under the bedclothes under a child and anyone who’s ever been activated by am story or a book. It’s a neat show but with huge potential."
The production has musical direction by Michael Warman with design by Michael Holt, lighting by Jason Taylor, choreography by Sheila Carter with the band consisting of Chris Guard, Timothy Dullaway and Anthony Lawton.
The Boy Who Fell In A Book can be seen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until 31 August. Tickets are priced from £10 to £24.50 with family tickets also available and can be booked at www.sjt.uk.com where further details about the production can also be found.
A look at the history of The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (and an entire section on the play) can be found at Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website by clicking here.
Evelyn Hoskins, John Barr & Nicolas Colicos
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
Stephen Matthews & Nicolas Colicos
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew

Monday, July 21, 2014

This Week: 21 July 2014

Welcome to This Week, our regular guide to major Ayckbourn productions in the coming seven days, a look back on the Ayckbourn news of the last seven days and a look at some significant Ayckbourn anniversaries from this week in years past.

This Week & Coming soon:
Until 27 August: A Small Family Business at the National Theatre
Until 31 August: The Boy Who Fell Into A Book at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

News Round Up:
> The new musical adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book is now running at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, with the official opening tomorrow night. Visit www.sjt.uk.com for further details.
> Salisbury Playhouse will be presenting Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce from 4 September to 4 October, click here for details.
Celebrating Ayckbourn at the Samuel French website continues its exploration of Alan Ayckbourn's plays this week.

Anniversaries:
22 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Life & Beth at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2008.
23 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Sugar Daddies  at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2003.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tweet The Archivist: Ayckbourn on DVD

Although it's a much-repeated topic, a recent @ayckbourn tweet queried Ayckbourn plays on DVD - and it gives me a chance to shamelessly plug a new article!
Running through daily tweets mentioning @Ayckbourn, there was a recent query whether The Norman Conquests is the only TV adaptation of an Ayckbourn plays to have been released on DVD.
Sadly, the answer is yes. Recently re-released on DVD in the UK by network (which has a 20 Facts article about the TV adaptation written by Alan's archivist here) and in the USA by  Acorn Media, The Norman Conquests trilogy remains the lonely Ayckbourn TV DVD.
Despite the fact there have been television adaptations of 11 of Alan Ayckbourn's full-length plays, only The Norman Conquests has ever been commercially released and none of the BBC adaptations have ever seen the light of day (The Norman Conquests was produced by Thames Television).
Despite the onset of digital programming and streaming, this also doesn't look likely to change in the foreseeable future - or at least Alan Ayckbourn is not aware of any plans regarding them.
While this is disappointing, it is presumably a commercial decision as Sir Alan has publicly spoken about how he is not against them being released on DVD; however the release of DVDs is not something he has any involvement with or say in (and for anyone who thinks otherwise, do you honestly believe the atrocious A Chorus Of Disapproval film would be on DVD if he had any say in such matters!).
The only other DVDs available of Alan Ayckbourn's plays are the movie adaptations with Private Fears In Public Places available in the UK and the USA, a French language (non-subtitled) Smoking / No Smoking (adapting Intimate Exchanges) available in France, the previously aforementioned Chorus DVD in the UK and on streaming services such as Netflix and America in North America, and, from next year in the USA and parts of Europe, Life Of Riley.
You can also still find Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical By Jeeves on DVD.
If ever the situation changes, www.alanayckbourn.net will be there to report on any future DVD / digital releases.

The Norman Conquests, starring Tom Conti, Richard Briers, David Troughton, Penelope Wilton, Penelope Keith and Fiona Walker, is available now on DVD and further details can be found here.
Details of all the filmed adaptations of Alan Ayckbourn's plays can be found on his official website here.