Three very distinct couples intertwine in two separate dinner parties in Alan Ayckbourn's 1970 comedy How the Other Half Loves, playing Jan. 5-Feb. 18 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Broadway's Larry Arrick (the World of Sholem Aleichem, The Heroine, Catskills on Broadway) directs.
With the typical complications of a farce, How the Other Half Loves takes three couples and two consecutive dinner parties and puts them on the same stage. Frank and Fiona are the top of their social stratus, while the two other dining couples, one slobby and borish and one socially inept, but earnest, are business underlings. During the course of their dinners, however, marital tensions and sexual shenanigans are revealed and covered up - often just in the nick of time.
Ayckbourn serves as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, England, where 46 of his 49 plays have premiered. More than 29 of his plays have subsequently been produced in London's West End, the Royal National Theatre or the RSC since his first hit, Relatively Speaking, opened in 1967. His plays, including The Norman Conquests trilogy and Absent Friends, have won numerous awards and have been translated into more than 30 languages.
The cast of How the Other Half Loves features Jeanie Hackett (A Streetcar Named Desire with Blythe Danner) as Teresa Phillips, Jamison Jones as Bob Phillips, Lily Knight ("A.I.," Agnes of God) as Mary Detweiler, Keith Langsdale (A Few Good Men) as William Detweiler, Brian Reddy (Abe Lincoln in Illinois, M. Butterfly) as Frank Foster and April Shawhan as Fiona Foster.
Ursula Belden designed the set; Michael Zinman, the lighting; Diana Eden , the costumes and Stafford Floyd, the sound. Annie Gilbert is the stage manager. Tickets are $42.50-$15. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue. For reservations, call (800) 233-3123. The Pasadena Playhouse is on the web at http://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
— By Christine Ehren