A Small Family Business
Date performed:
Alan Ayckbourn
October 2010

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´╗┐When Jack, honest and upright, takes over as Managing Director of the family furniture business, he expects to find room for improving efficiency. But his managerial skills are no match for the wholesale fraud, deceit and theft which he uncovers both in the business and amongst his family. But he almost at once has to succumb to blackmail, because of his daughter, and this is only the first of a series of moral compromises he will have to make.

This black morality play invested with considerable humour, one of Ayckbourn's finest, is directed by Edwina Gascoyne. With a cast of 13 and a stage set on several levels it promises to be as challenging and entertaining as last year's production of Noises Off.

Chosen by Guardian Critic Michael Billington in his top ten British plays of the 20th Century - It is the modern equivalent of An Inspector Calls - only being Ayckbourn, far funnier

Make no mistake, although this is a piece of uproarious fun it has about it the look of Ben Jonson - a comic mirror of corrupt society into which no one dare look and laugh without seeing his or her own reflection Jack Tinker, Daily Mail

Thoughts from the Director
When, for the second time, I was thwarted in my attempts to director 'The Dresser', I was at a loss to know what play I could direct with a large number of members available.

'A Small Family Business' was suggested and having read it, realised that there would be a number of problems to be overcome. These included a cast of 13, a set consisting of a complete house and a family of Italian brothers! However, knowing that Tudor Players would never shy away from a challenge, it seemed the perfect play to choose.

My sincere thanks to a hardworking, patient cast and a creative and resourceful crew.
I hope you enjoy tonight's performance.
Edwina Gascoyne

Review, The Star 14October2010
TUDOR Players offered us a dark comedy from Alan Ayckbourn. The play, though well acted in general, suffers from being overlong.
Jack McCracken, ably played by seasoned player, Phil Gascoyne arrives home as newly crowned head of the family furniture business to a surprise party. He makes it plain in an inspirational speech that fraudulent and dishonest behavior have no part in his plans.
When a sleazy detective, John Fereday, catches his rebellious, druggie daughter, Sam, shoplifting, it seems not everyone shares his perfect code of honor.
Admission of minor indiscretions from, his wife and elder daughter add to his incredulity. It's Jack's father-in-law Ken, however who drops the bombshell which will turn his strict ethics on their head.
Ayckbourn has a couple of identifiable stereotypes in the play. Harriet played by Pan Bush, is an incessant neurotic. She would rather watch people going to the lavatory than masticating in a restaurant. Poor Ken Ayres, a cameo from David Bramah, is affected by bereavement and forgets his own birthday.
The stand out performances, however are from two female youngsters. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Gascoyne plays bratty Sam with poise. Her vulnerability and insecurity are hidden behind anger as she tries to shrug off her adolescence.
Siobhan Daley as bed-hopping nymphomaniac Anita is also terrific. She has a very seductive voice even for non-sexual encounters. Notice how she persuades Jack's wife to wear some of her clothes and how she asserts herself in business dealings.
Stephen Grigg


(Click on images to view full size versions).

Jack McCracken Phil Gascoyne
Poppy Andrea Howard
Ken Ayres David Bramah
Tina Fran Larkin
Roy Ruston John Moran
Samantha Charlotte Gascoyne
Cliff Stuart Rooker
Anita Siobhan Daley
Desmond Peter Howard
Harriett Pam Bush
Yvonne Doggett Judith Wade
Benedict Hough John Fereday
Lotario Rivetti Gavin Holmes
Uberto Rivetti Gavin Holmes
Orlando Rivetti Gavin Holmes
Vincenzo Rivetti Gavin Holmes
Giorgio Rivetti Gavin Holmes

Director Edwina Gascoyne
Set design Phil Gascoyne
Peter Howard
Set construction Bryan Ashcroft
Bradley D'Roza
Hansel D'Roza
Peter Howard
John Jakins
Paul Kelly
Graham Ward
Stage manager John Jakins
Sound Bryan Ashcroft
Lighting Paul Screaton
Properties Bridget Ball
Continuity Carolyn Heslop
Front of House Carolyn Heslop
Ticket Secrataries Ann & Graham Ward