Ayckbourn classic at the Playhouse

ONE of Alan Ayckbourn’s most popular plays, A Chorus of Disapproval, comes to Salisbury Playhouse from 30th April to 18th May, with previews from 25th April. Directed by Gareth Machin, the artistic director of Wiltshire Creative, the large cast features Damian Humbley as the hapless central character, Guy, and Robert Bowman, seen last year in Wiltshire Creative’s brilliant open-air production of The Tempest, as Dafydd Ap Llewellyn, the director of The Beggar’s Opera.

A classic Ayckbourn mix of comedy, poignancy and emotional turmoil, A Chorus of Disapproval is the story of recently widowed Guy, who joins his local amateur light operatic society, in hope of finding new friends and meaning in his life – but ends up with a lot more than he bargained for! In their upcoming production of The Beggar’s Opera, Guy starts out playing a part with only one line, but his good looks and mild manners soon see him climb his way to the leading role. Unable to say no to wine, women and song, Guy finds himself embroiled in a series of backhand deals, steamy affairs and pub brawls.

The play, originally staged in 1984 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, and at the National Theatre in 1985, includes some of the songs from John Gay’s original Beggar’s Opera,

The other cast members, several familiar to Salisbury audiences, are Rebecca Cooper as Hannah Llewellyn, Andy Cryer (Jarvis Huntley-Pike), Bessy Ewa (Linda Washbrook), Olivia Forrest (Bridget Baines), Sasha Frost (Fay Hubbard), Richard Hurst (Ian Hubbard), Lloyd Notice (Ted Washbrook), George Olney (Crispin Usher), Ben Stock (Mr Ames), Georgina Sutton (Rebecca Huntley-Pike) and Heather Williams (Enid Washbrook).

It’s a brilliant cast, says Gareth Machin. “I am thrilled to welcome back some familiar faces who have previously graced the Playhouse stage, as well as new ones, who are set to bring an Ayckbourn classic to our Salisbury audience.”

Rehearsal photographs by Ash Mills.