“On Monday the 29th of September, a group of pupils from Years 10 and above attended the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, to see Alan Ayckbourn’s iconic new production: “Roundelay”. The stunning play had audiences wincing, laughing and generally having a great time.
However, Roundelay is no ordinary play. It is a combination of five mini-plays. The audience chooses, before the play begins, in which order the production pieces will take place. The production that we were honoured to watch was performed in the order of: The Novelist, The Judge, The Politician, The Agent and The Star.
Having the audience choose the order of the play before the show means that the performance should never unfold in the same order twice. There are apparently 120 possible combinations. The incredible effort and skill by the actors made it an experience to remember.
Ayckbourn’s unique style led the audience on a wild rollercoaster ride of suspense, awe and allowed the audience to relish the play’s (to quote Poe) ‘phantasmagoria’. With interlinked stories and character relations, the performance reads much like the popular “Pulp Fiction” in its manner as it frames each character’s story within the next. Each character appeared in several scenes, with a vicar in The Novelist turning out to be the acting coach of a young girl from The Politician. The wondrous imagination that goes into creating this performance captured every ounce of imagination and inevitably left the audience guessing and pondering the outcome.
“I thought the play was both interesting and weird, because the scenes were very different from the other Ayckbourn plays I’ve seen. He used lots of different techniques in his work, like changing the order and having the characters appear in multiple scenes. It was fun to choose the order and I liked seeing the set change about in between each scene” Year 11 pupil.
Marion, also in Year 11 described the piece as “fantastic, amazing and a very inspiring piece of performance.”
Tegan thought it was “entertaining, comedic and humourous.” She would recommend it to her friends.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Stephen Joseph Theatre and are looking forward to our next theatre trip to see Woman in Black at York Theatre Royal.”
Review by Joseph Buchanan Year 13