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House and Garden by Alan Ayckbourn

Complicated, yes. Fun, yes. Perfectly performed by the whole ensemble, yes. Miss it, no, you shouldn’t. It’s a treat.
— Philip Horton, Listomania

House in The Theatre Upstairs
Garden in The Main Auditorium
Two plays, two audiences, but only ONE cast!

To celebrate the company’s 20th Birthday on May 18th, Next Stage’s Artistic Director Ann Garner is presenting possibly her most ambitious project yet! 

In House and Garden, Alan Aykbourn’s weaves his usual wit and warmth through two plays depicting the events occurring on a single Saturday in August. 

In House, Teddy and Trish Platt’s marriage is in trouble. Trish has had enough of Teddy’s infidelities and so has Teddy! Resolved on becoming an MP, Teddy has decided to clean up his act and chooses the day of the village fête as the very time to end his affair with Joanna, the wife of Teddy’s best friend - Giles.

As the consequences of Teddy’s actions rebound in the house and the garden, his old friend, Gavin Ryng-Mayne, arrives to assess Teddy’s suitability to stand as the local MP. Teddy tries to shrug off the frosty atmosphere and outright hostility emanating from his wife and daughter and is so self-obsessed that he quite fails to see that Gavin is, himself, a far from upright member of society. Teddy proceeds to alienate family and friends alike, until finding solace and a kindred spirit in the person of Lucille Cadeau, a French filmstar who’s been invited to open the fête. As tempers and passions flare, the heavens open and Teddy’s trousers are not the only things washed away in the ensuing downpour! Meanwhile, in (the) Garden, preparations are underway for the fête, which is organised every year by Lindy Love and her patronising husband Barry. As the couple bicker their way through the assembling of tents and side-shows, we witness Jo’s reaction to the discovery of her affair with Teddy. With the rain pouring down on all Lindy and Barry’s efforts, Lucille and Teddy both find their soul mates in each other – even though neither of them can understand a word the other is saying!

Meanwhile, in the Garden, preparations are underway for the annual village fête, held every year in the spacious grounds of Trish and Teddy Platt’s imposing home. Warn, the monosyllabic gardener, battles with time and the elements (not to mention the lawn mower) in a half-hearted attempt to have everything ready for the afternoon’s opening ceremony - to be conducted by a glamorous, but obscure, French film star.

Finally, begrudging the endless tramp of feet across his lawns and flower beds, Warn decides to sabotage proceedings. Meanwhile, the desolate Joanna, freshly jilted by Teddy, roams the grounds in a hapless quest for vengeance and the meaning of life. Bickering stalwarts of the fête committee, Barry and Lindy Love, embrace the Herculean task of assembling stalls, Maypole dancers and Morris Men, but, for everyone, the storm clouds are gathering - over house and garden alike.

In House and Garden Next Stage Patron Sir Alan Ayckbourn came up with a devilish theatrical conceit where-by the chaotic home life of Teddy and Trish Platt would unfold in two auditoria simultaneously with actors leaving one set to travel to the next, hopefully arriving on the other stage at the correct time! 

With The Theatre Upstairs playing host to 50 audience members and the Main Auditorium accommodating another 50, plus an entire garden fête, these are two productions you will not want to miss.

Next Stage Theatre Company were delighted and honoured to receive a visit from The Chairman of B&NES Councillor Martin Veal, The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bath Councillor Malcolm Lees and The Mayoress Mrs Pat Lees during the production's opening night on Tuesday 13 May. Read more about their visit HERE.

With grateful thanks to this show's Angels.

Rehearsal Photographs: