To celebrate The Mission Theatre's 5th birthday, Next Stage are proud to present this stunning black comedy by patron Alan Ayckbourn. Most appropriately, the play opens with a family Birthday party in the Italian restaurant Essa de Calvi. It is January 18th and Laura is celebrating her 54th Birthday with husband Gerry, sons Glyn and Adam, and their respective partners Stephanie and Maureen. An astute and ruthless self-made businessman, Gerry has weathered economic storms and recessions and is confident of doing the same in the current climate. Whilst disappointed that his eldest son Glyn has not lived up to expectations, and that Adam seems to be wasting his life, Gerry still remains complacent and confident in his own success and marriage.
As the end of the evening approaches, tensions between Glyn and his wife Stephanie begin to surface and Adam’s new girlfriend Maureen regrets the alcohol she has imbibed to give her the necessary confidence to get through the evening. With the youngsters in disarray, Laura and Gerry decide to have a conciliatory nightcap with their long-time friend and restaurant owner, Ernesto Calvino.
Up until this point the audience have enjoyed a conventional first scene with Alan Ayckbourn’s trademarks - witty dialogue, incisive repartee and closely observed family dynamics - all in evidence. Then comes a twist: with the dramatic craftsmanship for which he is famed, Ayckbourn whirls his audience into three separate time zones and for the remainder of the play, Laura and Gerry continue in the present, but Glyn and Stephanie’s story moves on into the future whilst Adam and Maureen move backwards in time.
Staged in the round, the events of the play all occur in the Essa de Calvi, allowing the audience to feel that they too are in the restaurant, close observers of the dramas and dénouements that engulf Laura and her family.
A stellar cast of leading company actors bring this brilliantly entertaining play to The Mission as an appropriate celebration of the theatre’s 5th Birthday and a tribute to patron Alan Ayckbourn’s continued support and affection for Next Stage.