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Alan Ayckbourn Revives Comedy Classic To Mark SJT's 60th Anniversary

 Confusions Cast with Alan Ayckbourn
This summer Alan Ayckbourn is reviving his 1974 play Confusions for the first time to mark the Stephen Joseph Theatre's 60th anniversary.

Confusions premiered at the company’s first home, the Library Theatre, Scarborough and has since become one of the most popular and studied new plays of the last 40 years. It runs at the SJT from 9 July to 26 September and its official opening night coincides with the theatre’s 60th anniversary on 14 July.

From a devoted and isolated mother, to her unfaithful travelling salesman husband, through a solicitous waiter to well-heeled diners and an utterly shambolic garden fete, human frailty is laid bare as one hilarious situation after another unfolds. Each of the plays connects to the next through one of its characters until the final one is reached when four people sit alone on park benches. From high farce to poignant observation; the laughs, however dark, keep coming.

Alan Ayckbourn said:
"Confusions is an interesting stepping stone for me as you can see where the future is - Absent Friends, but you can also see the past - How The Other Half Loves - which is pure situation."

"It was written at a time when I wanted theatre to primarily show off actors, I still do really, but in those days I thought people loved the idea of actors playing different roles and becoming different people. There is something marvellous about that which is still peculiarly theatrical; if an actor becomes someone right in front of your very eyes or changes from one person to another, you can still believe there’s a bit of magic somewhere."

Stephen Billington and Emma Manton make their debut with the Stephen Joseph Theatre in this production. In television, Stephen is known for playing Coronation Street villain Greg Kelly and recently Danny Lomax in Hollyoaks. Theatre credits include The Crucible at York Theatre Royal and in film he has worked with directors Franco Zeffirelli, Peter Greenaway and Mel Gibson.

Emma Manton appeared last year with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won. She has performed at the National Theatre and in Nicholas Nickleby at Chichester Festival Theatre and in the West End. Television roles include Emma in Ricky Gervais’ BBC series The Office.

Russell Dixon and Richard Stacey have regularly worked with Ayckbourn and return following, most recently, his 78th play Roundelay and the 2013 world premiere, UK and international Ayckbourn Ensemble tour where they appeared in Arrivals & Departures and Time Of My Life.

Also returning is Elizabeth Boag who made her company debut in the critically-acclaimed Ayckbourn Ensemble tour in Arrivals & Departures and Farcicals and who joined the national tour of Roundelay earlier this year.

The cast will also be appearing later in the season in the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th play, Hero’s Welcome, when they will be joined by a sixth company member Terenia Edwards, a recent graduate from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.

Confusions can be seen at the SJT on various dates from Thursday 9 July to Saturday 26 September. Tickets, priced from £10 to £24.50, are available from the Box Office on 01723 370541 and online via www.sjt.uk.com.

Alan Ayckbourn Revives Comedy Classic To Mark SJT's 60th Anniversary Reviewed by Editor on 21:47:00 Rating: 5

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