1812 Theatre brings Alan Ayckbourn’s delightfully naughty Round And Round The Garden to their stage in March.
This British comedy is the third hilarious instalment in Ayckbourn’s interlocking trilogy of The Norman Conquests series. Director, Chris Proctor, ‘loves Ayckbourn’s work and these three plays in particular’ and, having directed the first two plays of the series (Table Manners and Living Together), wanted to complete the trilogy.
All the action takes place in the garden of a country house where, through accident and design, the characters gather. We meet the incorrigible Norman, who wishes to bring happiness to all women with romance. He is planning a weekend rendezvous with Annie; the only problem is the arrival of Tom the local veterinarian who also has a long standing, unexpressed yearning for Annie. Lost yet?? Well, to complicate things, Ruth, Norman’s wife, arrives as does Annie’s Brother Reg with his wife Sarah. A quiet weekend turns into mayhem.
Pip Le Blond, reprising her role as Annie, comments: “Sometimes it’s nice to get away from Drama, be it reality or a character on stage. For me it was time to have fun with a role, and to sharpen up my comedic skills. Having previously played Annie in Table Manner (2nd of the trilogies) I was interested in following her story and how it concluded.”
Ayckbourn has been writing prolifically for years and has produced some 73 plays to date. While comedic and/or farcical, much of his work is lauded as containing well developed characters with depth as well as containing intricate and truthful relationships. For directors, this can create some sense of obligation to find the right actors as Proctor explains: “Audition should have been relatively easy but it was important that all the actors could be seen as part of the same generation. Unfortunately I did not get this rather I got part casts from two generations. This forced me to delay naming the successful actors until I had secured a couple of other people who did not turn up for the auditions. As with the other two plays in the trilogy I have stayed true to Ayckbourn’s intent – I don’t think that you can do much else with this play.”
So, will Norman succeed in his conquest? Will Annie ever find love? Will Reg and Sarah ever be happy? Will the garden ever be the same? As Le Blond observes: “This is an Ackbourn play, it’ a matter of having fun!”
Round And Round The Garden by Alan Ayckbourn at 1812 Theatre, 3 Rose St., Upper Ferntree Gully. March 8 – march 31