A revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy Season’s Greetings opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.
Directed by the author, it will be performed by a cast of nine: Matt Addis, Eileen Battye, Rachel Caffrey, Bill Champion, Andy Cryer, Michael Lyle, Frances Marshall, Mercy Ojelade and Leigh Symonds. Design is by Kevin Jenkins and lighting design by Jason Taylor.
Season’s Greetings premiered in Scarborough at the SJT’s former home at Westwood in 1980; this is the first time it has been performed in Scarborough since.
Neville and Belinda are hosting their extended family over a long weekend. The presence of two tyrannical uncles – Bernard, whose ham-fisted annual puppet shows are a source of dread to young and old alike, and TV addict Harvey – promises to stir up trouble from the start. And that’s before you add to the mix broken toys, creaking marriages and guest novelist Clive, whose relationship with Belinda’s sister Rachel is going nowhere, causing him to look for love elsewhere.
Alan Ayckbourn explains that the play was originally inspired by his two sons mounting a puppet show and his getting involved: “I remember Steven saying: ‘This is only meant to be fun!’ and running crying out of the room as I shouted: ‘It may be fun to you, but this is a show and we’ve got to do it professionally’. By the time it went on, all the joy had gone out of it. Afterwards I thought: ‘What the hell am I doing?’
“I think everyone has had at least one disastrous Christmas and so the audience relates to it. I used to say: ‘You may think you’ve had a bad Christmas but wait until you see this one…’”
Season’s Greetings can be seen in the Round at the SJT, in rep, from Thursday 25 July to Saturday 28 September 2019. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.