Ayckbourn world premiere completes theatre’s summer season

Christopher Godwin in rehearsals for Better Off Dead
Christopher Godwin in rehearsals for Better Off Dead

Alan Ayckbourn’s 82nd play Better Off Dead completes the summer season at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, in a production directed by the author.

Larger than life and highly irascible author Algy Waterbridge (played by Christopher Godwin, who has created many leading roles in Ayckbourn premieres over the years, including Ronald Brewster-Wright in Absurd Person Singular, Norman in The Norman Conquests, and Dennis in Just Between Ourselves) is hard at work on his 33rd crime novel featuring blunt Yorkshire cop DCI Tommy Middlebrass.

It’s been a while since Tommy was on the TV, Algy’s wife is getting frighteningly forgetful, and his adoring PA sometimes oversteps the mark. It’s almost the last straw when an old acquaintance, journalist Gus Crewe, turns up to interview him, with alarming consequences.

As Algy’s fictional characters take him over and real people introduce themselves into the dramatic climax of his novel, lines become blurred and it might just be that fiction, misunderstandings and mistaken identity are closer to the truth than they might seem.

Better Off Dead is currently in rehearsal with a cast of seven: Eileen Battye, Russell Dixon, Christopher Godwin, Liz Jadav, Laurence Pears, Naomi Petersen and Leigh Symonds.

Better Off Dead can be seen in the Round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, in rep, from Thursday September 6 to Saturday October 6.

Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com