By Alan Ayckbourn
Rated: 5 stars *****
Available Now Until 25th June
After listening to Anno Domino, I decided I would write a review for it. Discover the cast, synposis and review, then at the bottom, the link where you too can listen in this fabulous play. There are also captioned productions available. The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, does ask that if you would like to donate, then feel free to.
This is an online theatrical treat to behold, which is an online exclusive for The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, intorduced by Paul Robinson, the Artistic Director Not only is the play written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, but it is also starring him alongside his wife, actor Helen Stoney. They play 8 characters ranging from 18 to their mid 70s. It marks Alan’s return to professional acting 56 years after his first stage performance. Since then he has written and directed plays such as:
Ten Times Table Life of Riley Seasons Greetings
Bedroom Farce The Norman Conquests Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present
and many more
This, however, is a momentous occasion as it is the first time Alan Ayckbourn has acted, written and directed in the same show.
Heather Stoney is known for shows such as:
Z Cars Raw Meat Masquerade and more…
Play List of characters and cast
Alan Ayckbourn plays Ben, Craig, Razz (Raymond) and Sam
Heather Stoney plays Ella, Martha, Cinny and Milly
Stephen Joseph Theatre Production
Sam and Milly are gathering the family together for their 25th wedding anniversary dinner at their favourite local bistro.
They’ll be joined there by Sam’s parents, Ben and Ella; his sister, Martha, and her new partner, Craig, and Martha’s son Raz. Also present – and she’s definitely caught Raz’s eye – is trainee restaurant manager Cinny.
But Sam and Milly have some life-changing news to share.
As the family prepares for the big event, we catch a glimpse into each of their living rooms and lives. Every couple has their tough moments: Anno Domino asks what happens when the strongest of us falls apart. How do our actions ripple out and affect those we love?
The dominos (people) that stood upright in the certainties of life start to wobble. It’s a great premise and name to show how people can start to fall and if you imagine the domino effect, how one domino affects the next and the next and so on, this is what this play shows very deftly, with people. There is humour, sadness and cause and effect spanning throughout the different generations. It’s a masterful and observational of human life.
The play starts with Sam and Milly’s silver wedding anniversary. The getting ready to go out is full of humour and what everyone can relate to, supposed lost handbags, the fussing around the teen son, Raymond who is too into his music. They have a big announcement to make to Sam’s family. The lead up to it is well executed and revelations come out. It is nuanced as conversations play out about what couples do as life moves onwards to different life stages. It has everything that Alan Ayckbourn is a master at, when creating a play for the stage. This medium of online has not affected his writing, directing, acting at all. His wife Heather Stoney also plays her characters very well and the 2 have made this fabulous play come to life, and I should think, that’s no mean feat. The actors really do move seamlessly and convincingly between the age ranges and characters.
In the first act, listeners get to know the characters pretty well and the people the main characters know, with that sublime humour throughout.
Act 2 takes place in the garden, where plants and family bonding occurs.
There’s really interesting and sage advice to Raymond (Razz). It’s eloquent and also cleverly layers in a bit of background to characters.
Things get a bit heated over very strong, definite, but differing opinions are formed between some of the character.
In a twist, revelations about relationships come out and come to a head and bit by bit, the domino effect happens from a sole event.
In another twist, there is some heartwarming moments to be had in the play.
Link to the website –