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Round And Round The Garden Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Lustful Goings On As Norman Creates Trail Of Havoc
More than 40 years after its creation, Alan Ayckbourn's incisive, witty play about tangled relationships continues to delight audiences today.

Round and Round the Garden, which is playing for three nights at Lichfield Garrick Theatre as part of a UK tour, shows no sign of becoming dated despite being penned in the early 70s.

Round And Round The Garden
The impressive full cast of Round And Round The Garden


In fact, it is only the impressive soundtrack, particularly evident during the interval, that convinces you when the story is set.

Round And Round The Garden is, in fact, part of a trilogy in the same way that Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was brought to the cinema screen.

It forms one of Ayckbourn's three Norman Conquests plays that involved the same six characters over the course of a summer weekend at a Sussex country house.

Jo Castleton, Round And Round The Garden
Jo Castleton is wonderfully cast as Annie


As such, you are left wanting to see how the rest of the overall story unfolds. But the slice that you are able to witness in Round And Round The Garden certainly provides a highly amusing segment with the help of an impressive cast and superb set.

The central character is undoubtedly assistant librarian Norman, who seemingly keeps his brain in his trousers as he chases after his sister-in-law Annie, and also charms his brother-in-law's wife Sarah, while also trying to keep his own wife, Ruth, happy.

Norman, superbly played by Philip Stewart, is finally about to drag the unattached Annie away for a dirty weekend when things inevitably start to go wrong with comic consequences.

Ben Roddy, Round And Round The Garden
Ben Roddy takes on the role of lovestruck vet Tom


Jo Castleton is also wonderfully cast as the seemingly frustrated Annie, who has to weigh up her obvious desires for Norman with betrayal of her sister.

Thrown into the mix is vet Tom, well played by Ben Roddy, who has his own designs on Annie but is clearly better at communicating with pets than people, with the inevitable misunderstandings later in the play.

And Louise Faulkner makes up for her late entry into the story as Norman's apparently long-suffering wife Ruth.

Kevin Pallister, Natasha Gray, Round And Round The Garden
Emmerdale stars Kevin Pallister and Natasha Gray appear as couple Reg and Sarah


And then there is Norman's brother-in-law Reg and his wife Sarah, played by Kevin Pallister and Natasha Gray from ITV soap Emmerdale, who add to the overall confusion.

This new production, which is the joint creation of Talking Scarlet and Jordan Productions, in association with Eastbourne Theatres, concludes at the Lichfield Garrick on February 10. For ticket information call 01543 412121.

Lichfield Garrick
Lichfield Garrick plays host to Round And Round The Garden for 3 nights


Remaining UK Tour Dates

February 16-20 Malvern Theatres, Malvern 01684 892277 www.malvern-theatres.co.uk

February 25-27 The Hexagon, Reading 0118 960 6060 www.readingarts.com

March 1-2 The Haymarket, Basingstoke 01256 844244 www.anvilarts.org.uk

March 7-12 Theatre Royal, Winchester 01962 840440 www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

March 16-19 Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon 020 8688 9291 www.fairfield.co.uk

March 22-23 Marina Theatre, Lowestoft 01502 533200 www.marinatheatre.co.uk

March 24-25 Towngate Theatre, Basildon 01268 465465 www.towngatetheatre.co.uk

April 11-12 Playhouse Theatre, Weston-Super-Mare 01934 645544 www.theplayhouse.co.uk

April 14-16 Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate 01423 502116 www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk

April 18-20 Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage 01438 363200 www.gordon-craig.co.uk

April 26-30 Belgrade Theatre, Coventry 02476 553055 www.belgrade.co.uk
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Why? Wonderfully Amusing Farce By The Master Alan Ayckbourn
When: Until April 30, 2016
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6HR
Cost: 19 adults, 17 students
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