Thursday, October 13, 2005
Saw a really funny play at the New Vic last night. It was a new play written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn and performed by the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company. Called ‘Improbable Fiction’ it is centered around a creative writing group meeting in the shabbily middle class home of its chairman Arnold, who translates foreign instruction manuals and has a bedridden mother upstairs. The characters arrive one by one for the meeting, first is a local girl who sits in with ‘mother’ and pops down to make coffee for the members (the coffee serving scene is priceless). The other characters are, a nervous housewife who is writing a children’s book about a goblin, a lesbian farmer who wants to write an historical romance, a young journalist who writes about a 1930s detective who quotes poetry a lot, a sci-fi nut who works for local government, believes the chief executive is an alien and uses the wrong adjectives to the great annoyance of the last character, an irate retired teacher who hates everyone and everything and who writes musicals. At the end of the first act, when the last of the writers have said their goodbyes and when, although it has been very funny, the audience are wondering where on earth this will go, there is a clap of thunder, the lights go out and suddenly poor Arnold is approached by a young girl in a crinoline, wielding a kitchen knife. Cue interval. Thus, the second half of the play, is an hilarious mixture of quick costume change, entering and exiting as the characters veer between the Victorian gothic novel, the 1930s Detective story and the government agents searching for alien abductors, I was in awe of the agility and timing of the whole cast, plus the perfectly timed disappearing and reappearing telephone and as I’m sure you must have guessed relished the much anticipated appearance of the goblin. The squirrel was a surprise though.