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Ayckbourn returns to the New Vic!

Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company are making a welcome return to the New Vic with not one but two productions!

Ayckbourn’s classic comedy Absurd Person Singular opens on Tuesday 16 October while new play, Surprises, takes to the stage on Thursday 18 October.

(Ben Porter and Laura Doddington in Absurd Person Singular - image by Robert Day)

Three kitchens, Christmas catastrophes and calculated social climbing will take centre stage in the sparkling 40th anniversary revival of Absurd Person Singular, which, premiered at the Library Theatre in Scarborough in 1972 before transferring to the West End and scooping the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award in 1974.

Ayckbourn said: “It’s the next logical play to revive in the canon; a few years ago I did Relatively Speaking and then more recently I did How The Other Half Loves - both also on their 40th anniversaries. So it’s the next big one.

“Like a lot of my writing, it is of its time, but it also has a timeless quality to it. Although the characters are very definitely rooted in the period and mustn’t ever be moved from there, I think - nonetheless - that human nature hasn’t changed that much over time. It is a story about the worm turning; the underdog becoming the overdog. It’s a fable that still exists today with people climbing and falling through the social ladder.”

Following a critically-acclaimed premiere at the New Vic’s sister theatre, Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, Ayckbourn’s 76th play, Surprises, also opens at the theatre-in-the-round this week.

Ayckbourn said: “I describe it as a play with its head in the future, but with its heart in the past. Surprises is essentially several love stories but love stories that have a spin on them. It’s science fiction but used as an allegory - as most good sci-fi is - to reflect what’s happening today.”

Both productions star Ayesha Antoine, Bill Champion, Laura Doddington, Sarah Parks, Ben Porter and Richard Stacey and run until Saturday 3 November.

Tickets, priced from £10.50 to £19.50 (concessions available), are available online or by telephoning the New Vic Box Office on 01782 717962.

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