Suburban Strains: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Suburban Strains is Alan Ayckbourn's 25th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 18 January 1980.
  • The London premiere was held at The Round House, London, on 5 February 1981.
  • It was written with the composer Paul Todd, who was the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round's Musical Director and who Alan Ayckbourn also worked with on the musical Making Tracks as well as a number of revues.
  • Suburban Strains was Alan Ayckbourn's first attempt to write a musical since the his notorious West End flop Jeeves with Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1975.
  • It is Alan Ayckbourn's second full length musical….
  • However, Suburban Strains is more accurately a play with music rather than a musical; the difference being that Alan Ayckbourn firmly believes that a song should significantly progress the narrative or reveal insights into the characters and not just be a meaningless piece of music interrupting the plot.
  • The original production featured a double revolve installed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough. Depending on which direction the revolve moved (clockwise or anticlockwise), it indicated whether the action was set in the past or the future.
  • The revolve also had the potential for disaster and it is has been noted that during rehearsals there was chaos when the stage was revolved the wrong way scattering actors and props alike!
  • The play revolves around the lead character Caroline - one of the most dialogue (and song) heavy of Alan Ayckbourn's roles; ironically the actress who played Caroline in the original production was Lavinia Bertram, whose previous role with Alan Ayckbourn had been the near silent Kitty in Taking Steps!
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.