House and Garden at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham

House and Garden at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham

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Posted 2024-01-07 by dpmfollow

Sat 03 Feb 2024 - Sat 10 Feb 2024


Birmingham’s The Crescent Theatre celebrates its centenary season this year by taking on the challenge of producing Alan Ayckbourn’s pair of comedies House and Garden at the same time!

The two shows will run simultaneously in the theatre’s Main House and Ron Barber Studio from 3-10 February.

House and Garden, written by the playwright as a 60th birthday present to himself, pose a unique challenge in that the two plays are performed simultaneously in two auditoria, with the same cast moving between two stages throughout the performance. First performed in 1999, the plays are rarely produced due to their complexity, and have never previously been staged outside London by a UK amateur company.



But Crescent Theatre arts manager Liz Plumpton says the complexity was part of the appeal. “We wanted to do something to celebrate the theatre company’s centenary and taking on something so logistically and artistically challenging felt like a fitting tribute to the rich history of the theatre.”

The two plays take place in the house and the lower meadow on the day of the annual fete in an unnamed English village. In true Ayckbourn fashion, both are bittersweet comedies that chart the ups and downs of human relationships.

And with one of the themes looking at how we interact with other people, a character whose role seems minor in one play, is at the dramatic crux of the other - something the audience can only fully appreciate if they see both shows.

Liz explains: “Each play is complete and very enjoyable as a single entity so you can see them singly, or together, in any order, but there will be something really special, I think, about seeing them both. That way you’ll have that ‘lightbulb moment’ when all the pieces fit together and you understand what was going on with that character who rushed in at that moment in one play, when you see what happened to them minutes before in the other.”

And, she says, the practicalities of the two performance spaces at The Crescent also helps. “It takes just over a minute, at a speedy walk, to get from your exit in one venue, to your entrance in the other. We’re just coming to the exciting part of rehearsals where, having rehearsed the two shows as separate entities, we are now running them together and finding out where the snags lie in making sure the actors can make their entrances in time. Live theatre is always a bit of a highwire act with no ‘second take’ and having to cope with the unexpected. This project takes that risk to another level and we’re all very excited to share the experience with audiences in February.”

House and Garden play The Crescent Theatre on 3-10 February, see here.

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274615 - 2024-01-07 16:10:09

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