Ayckbourn in good hands

Alan Ayckbourn, especially in his earlier years of writing, is synonymous with wry humour. Alan Ayckbourn in the hands of the West Acre company spells a splendid evening's entertainment with lots of laughter.

Alan Ayckbourn, especially in his earlier years of writing, is synonymous with wry humour. Alan Ayckbourn in the hands of the West Acre company spells a splendid evening's entertainment with lots of laughter.

Director Andy Naylor guaranteed that the Ayckbourn wit was enjoyed to the full thanks to sensitive casting and deft use of timing.

This play, part of the Norman Trilogy, was written in 1973 in the style of a comedy of manners before the writer's work matured to much darker humour.

A full house enjoyed the confusion created by the complex and changing relationships among chauvinist men, dominant women, and their antonyms who become the victims of mixed messages.

Norman, whose behaviour ranges from the surreal to the bizarre, is the pivotal character and David Connor is highly amusing both visually and in the delivery of so many pithy lines.

He is the foil for much of the ironic humour emanating from his wife, Ruth (Vanessa Dupont), Annie (Karen Bates), and Sarah (Jane Cooper). The arresting mix of characters is completed with the whinnying laugh of the know-all Reg (Ed Willatt) and the socially inadequate vet, Tom (Robert Dale).

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