Roundelay: A Unique Theatrical Performance

To mark his 53rd year as a theatre director and his 55th year as a playwright, Alan Ayckbourn brought his new play Roundelay to the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Director & Writer: Alan Ayckbourn

Cast: Russel Dixon, Nigel Hastings, Krystle Hylton, Brooke Kinsella, Alexandra Mathie, Sophie Roberts, Richard Stacey, Leigh Symonds

Venue: Stephen Joseph Theatre

This production is the playwright’s latest experiment and with five plays being able to be shown in apparently 200 different orders, it is clear that Roundelay will be unique in every performance.

Three quarters of an hour before the play starts, a member of the audience decides the order in which these five plays are shown.

This non-linear method is a new and boundary breaking way of creating a play and keeps the suspense high as no one in the audience has any idea how the story will unfold.

With twists and turns in the narrative of each performance, it will leave you wanting more from the respective play.

Each of the five plays had comic attributes but then a deeper undertone that surfaced at the beginning or near the end of the specific play.

All of the five plays were intertextually linked and referenced each other which shows that it did not matter what order these productions go in.

The performance called ‘The Politician’ is a light-hearted comedy and will have you laughing throughout the entirety.

‘The Novelist’ is a psychological thriller that will leave you speechless with a blood-curdling scream echoing through your head.

The next option is ‘The Star’ which is a drama that focuses on love and loss and could even make you reach for the tissues.

‘The Judge’ is one of the next options of the evening and is a trip down memory lane and once again deals with loss of both of the characters.

Last but not least is ‘The Agent’ which is a comedic ‘escape’ drama which will have the entire audience worrying what will happen to the characters.

Despite each play only running for a short period, they all provoke thoughts and emotions and with a small cast of eight brilliant actors, the play will have you thinking about past loves and losses.

With a simplistic set design that changes during a musical interlude, the play reinforces the talent of Ayckbourn.

Each play had its dedicated colour and the set design complimented that by having cushions and pieces of furniture with the plays respective colour.

Roundelay was an exciting and unique play and is a must-see.




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