‘A’ list of RATS’ talent performs classic Ayckbourn play

Peter Rabbitts and Susan Cronshaw (seated) with Guy Mason, Martin Smith and Suzannah Rogerson behind. (s)
Peter Rabbitts and Susan Cronshaw (seated) with Guy Mason, Martin Smith and Suzannah Rogerson behind. (s)
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The Sir Alan Ayckbourn play “Time of My Life” is being performed by Ribchester Amateur Theatrical Society (RATS) next month.

Gerry and Laura Stratton are celebrating Laura’s birthday with their two sons, Glyn and his younger brother, Adam.

Glyn’s wife, Stephanie, and Adam’s new partner, Maureen, are also there at the family’s favourite restaurant.

The occasion suggests a happy domestic scene, but, as with most Ayckbourn comedies, there is a darker side, a sting in the tail, with several skeletons rattling in various cupboards.

Ayckbourn, like J.B.Priestley, likes playing with time. It will help people understand the plot to point out here that when the action is at the main centre table, they are in “present time”; that is the birthday party night.

When the action crosses to the smaller table, on the left of the stage, it concerns the future life, after the party, of Glyn and Stephanie and their convoluted love life.

Action on the right hand side concerns Adam and his new girlfriend Maureen and goes back in time, eventually to their first, hilariously cross-purposed first meeting.

All the action is set in the restaurant, presided over by friendly owner Ernesto Calvinu and staffed by a collection of waiters, all from the same, extended family and bearing remarkable resemblance to each other.

The audience follows the lives of each couple and the family as a whole and complete the circle by reverting to the fateful birthday night. So, the end of the play is the beginning of the night’s festivities.

Don’t worry those who watch the play are assured that they’ll soon catch on to this definite comedy, but also a classic Alan Ayckbourn one!

Playing the parents are Peter Rabbitts and Susan Cronshaw. Their elder son, Glyn, is Guy Mason and his wife, Stephanie, is played by Rebecca Parkinson. Younger son Adam, the apple of his mother’s eye, is Martin Smith, playing a very different role his panto performances, but showing the same excellent timing. His new girlfriend, Maureen, is a wonderful part for the youngest cast member, Suzannah Rogerson, who has, despite her youth, already played in plays, pantos, promenade pieces and cabaret for Rats.

The cast as a whole, including Dave Procter as the restaurant owner, is an A list of Rats talent.

Produced by Robin Simmons and directed by Keith Flood, this Ayckbourn promises to join the other classics of his work that the RATS have tackled over the years, including the trilogy “Norman Conquests”, “Ten Times Table” and “Just Between Ourselves”.

The play is on at Ribchester Village Hall on Thursday November 10th and Friday November 11th at 7-30 pm and, please note, on Sunday (not Saturday) November 13th at 7 pm. So a different day and an earlier time for the Sunday show. Tickets, as always, from 01254878530.