Following its critically acclaimed West End revival last year, How the Other Half Loves, Alan Ayckbourn’s inventive and hilarious tale of matrimonial mishaps is bound for Bath as part of a major UK tour directed by Alan Strachan and appearing at the Theatre Royal from Monday 2nd October to Saturday 7th October.
The star cast touring to Bath features leading stage and television actor Robert Daws, best known for the hit series The Royal, Outside Edge and Roger Roger, as Frank Foster, opposite Caroline Langrishe, who starred in Lovejoy, Holby City and Judge John Deed, as Fiona Foster. Charlie Brooks, famous for her portrayal of EastEnders’ Janine Butcher, plays Teresa Phillips alongside Leon Ockenden, who is thrilling Coronation Street fans in his current role as Will Chatterton, here seen as Bob Phillips. Matthew Cottle, best known for the BAFTA-nominated Game On, reprises his critically acclaimed West End performance as William Featherstone, and, completing the couples, Sara Crowe, whose many West End credits include Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular and screen credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, plays Mary Featherstone.
One of Ayckbourn’s most brilliantly-crafted plays, this hit comedy which ingeniously juggles time and space as it presents the intricate lives, liaisons, passions and growing panic of three married couples over one action-packed weekend, remains one of the celebrated writer’s most famous.
As Bob Phillips and Fiona Foster clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses’ intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Featherstone become stuck in the middle, falsely accused of adultery and with no idea as to how they’ve become involved. As the plot thickens, all three couples get drawn into an increasingly hilarious tangle of mounting confusion and mind-boggling misunderstandings. The plot culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time, after which the futures of all three couples seem in jeopardy.
Alan Ayckbourn’s ninth play How the Other Half Loves received its world premiere at Scarborough’s Library Theatre in 1969. The following year it transferred to the West End with Robert Morley leading the cast. A huge success it ran for 869 performances delighting critics and audiences alike. How the Other Half Loves has since been produced throughout the world and was the first of Ayckbourn’s plays to be staged on Broadway. It received its first major West End revival in 2016, originally opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket followed by an extended run at the Duke of York’s.
2017 marks Alan Ayckbourn’s 56th year as a theatre director and his 58th as a playwright. To date he has written 82 plays and his work has been translated into over 35 languages. He became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards and was knighted in 1997 for services to theatre. As well as How the Other Half Loves, just some of his countless hit plays include Relatively Speaking, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In the past four years, there have been revivals of Season’s Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre, and in the West End productions of Absent Friends, A Chorus of Disapproval, Relatively Speaking, as well as Alan Strachan’s staging of How the Other Half Loves.
Alan Strachan has directed plays in New York, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but the majority of his work has been in London, where he has directed extensively in the West End. He was Artistic Director of the Greenwich Theatre in London for over a decade, and has worked with, amongst others, Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Penelope Keith, Maureen Lipman CBE, Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Alec Guinness. Alan is also a frequent broadcaster. He came to early prominence as Alan Ayckbourn’s chosen director and he has directed numerous productions at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, where Ayckbourn was Artistic Director from 1972 to 2009, and where the majority of his work has and continues to be launched.
How the Other Half Loves appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 2nd to Saturday 7th October. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and via www.theatreroyal.org.uk