Alan Ayckbourn Won't Return to West End

News   Alan Ayckbourn Won't Return to West End

At a lecture at the Arts Theatre on Oct. 23, playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn launched an impassioned attack on the star frenzy that he claims has overtaken today's West End producers.

Ayckbourn, whose Damsels in Distress trilogy currently playing at the Duchess Theatre has a cast of regulars from his "home" theatre in Scarborough, says he won't be back in the commercial West End again, restricting himself to the National or the Fringe.

"If all we are looking for these days is one-shot plays with one big name in it, I don't want to be part of it," said Ayckbourn, who was upset that of the three plays that make up Damsels, the producers had decided to run only one — Roleplay (which had by far the best reviews) — during the week, staging the others only on Saturday (morning and matinee).

Ayckbourn considered that the current trend in bringing in major movie stars (and he quoted Madonna's recent appearance in Up For Grabs at Wyndhams) to be short-term and counter productive given that, in his opinion, such stars often failed to deliver: "These celebrities can't do it. They get ill or lose their voices after 20 minutes, and you're left with the understudy."

—By Theatrenow