Love After All: World Premiere ReviewsThis page contains all the reviews held in archive of the world premiere production of Alan Ayckbourn's Love After All at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in December 1959. All reviews on this page are the copyright of the respective publication and / or author and should not be reproduced.
Second Ayckbourn Play
Barefoot Basil is Lady Daphne's plumber, and his enemies are Stiletto Charlie and club-footed Minnie the Mangler. They are characters in a romantic novel which has such a strong influence over Angelica, a day-dreaming miser's daughter of Edwardian days, who sees in Basil her ideal man.
Angelica is the heroine of a new farce being presented this week by the Studio Theatre company in the Library Theatre, Love After All, a second play by 20-year-old Alan Ayckbourn (the pen-name of Roland Alan [sic])*, who has acted in previous seasons with the company. His other play, The Square Cat, a comedy, was performed in Scarborough during the summer.
Mr. Ayckbourn, who is waiting to be called up to do his national service, was in Scarborough last night to see his play. Afterwards he had two criticisms to make of it. He told the Evening News that it needed to be "tightened up" more and that the set was too crowded and that some of the props would have to be moved.
Love After All, is not as funny as The Square Cat, is technically better, and there are some good lines. Angelica, about to be abducted by a man she believes to be of similar technique and style as Barefoot Basil, turns excitedly to her maid and asks: "Shouldn't I take sandwiches?"
An over-robust David Campton, as the miserly father, stamps his way too energetically and enthusiastically through the play and could have been quieter.
William Elmhirst and Barry Boys fit easily into the parts of Rupert Hodge, suitor to Angelica, lover of pigs, earnest observer of latest weather conditions, and disdained by the one he loves, and Jim Jones, the hero, as another Basil.
Dona Martyn plays Angelica - moody, dreamy, and lazy - and Faynia Jeffery is a bouncing lively maid who has an eye on Jim Jones for herself.
The British Drama League has asked Mr. Ayckbourn for copies of both his plays.
(Scarborough Evening News, 22 December 1959)
*The newspaper transposes the author's pen name and actual name. Obviously Alan Ayckbourn is the real name with Roland Allen (or Alan as it is mis-spelt here) being the pen name.
National Service Kept A Young Author From Cast
Studio Theatre Ltd., which provides Scarborough with Theatre in the Round, tries to include in its repertoire each season a light-hearted farce as a contrast to the more serious theatre with which they experiment so well.
Last night they presented at the Library Theatre the first performance of a new farce, Love After All, by Roland Allen, which was in the best traditions of its type, with the laughs coming easily, and wholeheartedly.
It was extremely well done by a cast for whom it was specially written. Roland Allen is the pen name of a young actor, Alan Ayckbourn, who has been with the company for several seasons and written for them before.
He was to have taken a part himself but was prevented by impending National Service duties, though sitting among the first night audience he must have received ample consolation in the enthusiastic reception his farce received.
There were some masterly performances, especially David Campton's crotchety old miser, William Elmhirst's wonderfully inane country squire and Barry Boys's several forms of hero. Faynia Jeffery as the maid and Dona Martyn as the romantic daughter had a generous share of the laughs. Clifford Williams was the producer.
(Yorkshire Post, 22 December 1959)
Love After All, an Edwardian farce, by Alan Ayckbourn. was presented by the Studio Theatre Company in Scarborough's Library Theatre on December 23.
It is the story of Angelica, played by Dona Martyn, dreary bookworm daughter of a miser, who feeds her soul on the story of Barefoot Basil, plumber to Lady Daphne, whose enemies are Stiletto Charlie and club-fooled Minnie the Mangler.
When Jim Jones, played by Barry Boys, newcomer to the company, turns up she sees him as another Basil. and is willing to be abducted by him.
But Rupert Hodge, played by William Elmhirst, her suitor, tries in his own bumbling way to outwit him. An over-robust David Campton as a miserly father, stomps his way too heavily through his part, but the others in the cast, including Faynia Jeffery, as the lively maid, assume their parts with the ease of well-fitting gloves,
(The Stage, 31 December 1959)
Good Alternative To Pantomime
Scarborough has no Christmas pantomime, but an excellent alternative is provided by the Theatre-in-the-Round company who began a week's run at the Library Theatre last night of a new Edwardian farce, Love After All, by Roland Allen.
Roland Allen is the pen name of Alan Ayckbourn, who has acted with the company for several seasons. He was among the first night audience and would have been in the production had he not have been awaiting call-up for National Service.
Barry Boys gave a delightful performance as the dashing young hero who falls in love with the romantic daughter of an old miser and adopts a number of subterfuges, including several disguises, to enable him to woo her.
The acting of David Campton as the crotchety old man was clever, while his daughter was admirably portrayed by Dona Martyn. William Elmhirst was hilariously funny as her suitor of three years' standing, a country squire with the dullest of conversational lines.
Faynia Jeffrey, as a bustling and attractive maid with her eye on the hero, maintained the high standard of acting. The play is produced by Clifford Williams.
(Northern Echo, 22 December 1959)
No Taint Of The Synthetic (by Roy Perrott)
Just as "avant-garde," in practice, seems to mean anything that marches at right angles to the broad line of advance, so the term "experimental" in the theatre world might be defined as anything that lasts for years and years and that audiences ignore.
The "experiment" known as Theatre-in-the-Round was given its first professional performance in this country by the Studio Theatre Company in 1955. Wildfire is not the word to describe the experiment's rate of expansion. In America, whence the idea came, there are now some scores of them: over here, there is still only this one, bravely facing the off-season winds from the sea, and a second more recently opened in the South.
Before getting to the quite pleasant farce they presented on Monday, it may be worth recalling what Theatre-in-the-Round looks like, which is (of course) not round but square. There is a rectangle of floor space (the stage) surrounded by the audience on all four sides; those in the front rows have their feet on the sacred boards and, if they don't watch out, are likely to get mixed up with the stage props now and again.
It is close certainly - but is it always more intimate than the usual thing? If a play is poor, or some piece of acting does not come off isn't it several times more uncomfortable than at the usual safe distance? The director, Mr Stephen Joseph, and his small, but enthusiastic company, know these questions by heart and they still think that Theatre-in-the-Round has some sort of vitality, vividness, some extra dimension of reality to add to any kind of play you can think of.
Monday's play, a farce written by a member of the company, Roland Allen, was average enough in quality to be a fair test of the medium. It is about a miserly, eccentric, old father who is trying to marry off his daughter to a wealthy pig-farmer suitor. The story is not strong enough to keep up the momentum, nor is the wit of the lines. The producer, Clifford Williams, has allowed too much "hamming" so that it slides too often down to mere fourth-form high jinks. But it has charm, spontaneity, and a lack of any taint of the synthetic; and those may be the qualities which theatre-in-the-round could help to inject into the conventional theatre outside.
(Unknown publication, December 1959)
All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.