Ayckbourn's a hit in America - how to listen to his latest play Anno Domino

Sir Alan Ayckbourn and his wife Heather StoneySir Alan Ayckbourn and his wife Heather Stoney
Sir Alan Ayckbourn and his wife Heather Stoney
Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s audio play Anno Domino – written in lockdown and performed by Alan and his wife Heather – has been wowing audiences in the USA.

American radio news programme Morning Edition, produced and distributed by NPR, said at least 12.5 million people had tuned into the story about a couple whose lengthy marriage disintegrates and leads those around them to question their relationships.

The New York Times review said: “There is also something to be said for the appeal right now of a play about a family in rather ordinary disarray. And for the simplicity of closing one’s eyes and listening to a story well told.”

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The Wall Street Journal said: “You laugh – you’re supposed to – but there’s a sharp barb to the laughter. There’s a place for audio-only shows as fine as this one.”

More than 9,000 people have listened to Anno Domino on the Stephen Joseph Theatre website. That equates to 23 sell-outs in the Round auditorium of the Scarborough theatre.

“The inspiration for Anno Domino came from the idea that all relationships ultimately are built on sand,” said Scarborough-based Alan. “It only takes one couple to break up abruptly to take us all by surprise, then all of a sudden everyone is questioning their own unshakeable relationship.”

It can be heard on the Stephen Joseph website here until Thursday June 25.