Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present

“Alan ayckbourn's time-hopping comedy”

Premiering in the year of Alan Ayckbourn’s 80th birthday, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is his 83rd play.

It opens on the day of Micky’s 80th birthday party, before sweeping backwards through time for the birthdays of his wife Meg, his son Adrian, and, finally, his never seen daughter Sonia.

Ayckbourn continues to experiment with narrative structure – time and its passing play a central role in the play. There’s a pleasing familiarity to the characters: Micky, a hilarious Russell Dixon, is a cranky bus driver, while his practical, no-nonsense wife Meg is energetically played by Jemma Churchill. Accountant Adrian is played with endearing affability by Jamie Baughan, who somehow managing to keep Adrian’s sexually explosive reputation simmering throughout. Naomi Petersen multi-roles as all the other characters, making each one unique and recognisable – an exhausting task which she manages with aplomb.

Ayckbourn’s dialogue is crisp and entertaining and his direction of his own play assured as ever, marshalling the fast-paced plot without ever becoming overbearing.

Kevin Jenkins’ set is ingeniously creative. Ayckbourn handles the long set changes with precision. The choreography of sideboards being transformed into ottomans and beds into sofas is made an integral part of the show.

In his 83rd play, in his 80th year, Ayckbourn shows no signs of either slowing down or of losing his touch.

Related to this Review


Production Details
Production nameBirthdays Past, Birthdays Present
VenueStephen Joseph Theatre
StartsSeptember 4, 2019
EndsOctober 5 2019
Running time2hrs 10mins
AuthorAlan Ayckbourn
DirectorAlan Ayckbourn
Set designerKevin Jenkins
Lighting designerJason Taylor
Sound designerPaul Stear
CastJamie Baughan, Jemma Churchill, Naomi Petersen, Russell Dixon
ProducerStephen Joseph Theatre
VerdictAlan Ayckbourn’s 83rd play is a funny, farcical, time-hopping comedy
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In