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Roleplay
By:
Date performed:
Alan Ayckbourn
May 2010

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Details
The third of the Damsels in Distress trilogy finds Justin and Julie-Ann, both in computers and hoplessly mis-matched in love, about to introduce their respective parents to each other over dinner - Justin's upper crust alcoholic mother from Surrey and Julie-Ann's bigoted Yorkshire father and prim mother. Into this doomed scenario drops, literally, via the balcony upstairs and the river, Paige Petite, a former lap-dancer with sucidal tendencies and her thick, gun-toting minder who is employed by her violent boyfriend. They proceed to wreck havoc on the meticulously planned evening but the brilliantly orchestrated mayhem is tempered by subtle insights into family relationships and class distinctions.

Thoughts from the Director
Any Ayckbourn play is a pleasure to direct, despite the worry that you not be able to do it justice! Each script has cracking dialogue, carefully observed characters and a water-tight plot.

This play offers something a little different from the traditional comedy, and presents a different set of challenges for both director and cast. We have the usual Ayckbourn trademarks, with elements of farce thrown in, which in themselves are enough to keep any cast busy. But there is also a much darker thread running through what is essentially a comedy. Anyone know how to juggle?

I must give a huge thank you to the cast for their hard work and dedication in bringing the script to life, and to the back stage crews for creating a most impressive setting! ..Enjoy!
Phil Gascoyne

Review, The Star 13May2010
Justin and Julie-Ann are a chalk and cheese couple. They are preparing a special dinner for the first time meeting of their respective parents. She's obssessed with the finer details whilst he's far from keen about the whole thing, never mind announcing their engagement. The last straw for Justin is when she places a three-month sex embargo on him to make the wedding day special!

Things get messy when Justin lets attractive former lap dance, Paige in through the balcony, closely followed by Micky, her minder. Add Julie's parents, straight talking Yorkshireman Derek, with a penchant for laughing at his own cheesey jokes, fawning wife Dee and Justin's alcoholic mum, Arabella and a full-blown farce ensues.

Jenn Aspinall gives a relaxed, unhurried and effective performance as Paige. Her natural delivery seems at times quite lugubrious. I found myself wanting her to get out of first gear occasionally though, especially during the exotic dance, which lacked effervescence.

Edwina Gascoyne has a ball as Arabella. She's out-rageously rude to people. She mixes up Julie-Ann and Paige; calling the former a dog. She then likens Derek to a garden gnome from one of his garden centres. She makes Dylan Thomas seem tee-total.

John Fereday is amusing as bigoted Derek. He starts making a racist joke whilst poor Justin cringes before Arabella thankfully interrupts with some incoherent drunkin ramblings. Derek's other daughters havent conformed to "normal roles". One is lesbian and the other has married a Chinese man. They won't be the last to stop playing the roles expected of them.
Stephen Grigg


Photographs
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Cast
Backstage
Julie-Ann Jobson Tanya Addy
Justin Lazenby Jacob Rusling
Paige Petite Jenn Aspinall
Micky Rale Rod Duncan
Derek Jobson John Fereday
Dee Jobson Andrea Howard
Arabella Lazenby Edwina Gascoyne

Director Phil Gascoyne
Set design Hansel D'Roza
Peter Howard
Set construction Bryan Ashcroft
Hansel D'Roza
Peter Howard
John Jakins
Paul Kelly
Graham Ward
Jo Waterhouse
Set painting Phil Robinson
Stage manager John Jakins
Sound Bryan Ashcroft
Lighting Hansel D'Roza
Properties Bridget Ball
Continuity Carolyn Heslop
Front of house Carolyn Heslop
Ticket secretaries Ann & Graham Ward