The Revengers' Comedies: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • The Revengers' Comedies was initially inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film Strangers On A Train (1951) in which two strangers agree to murder someone for each other in order to commit the perfect crime.
  • When originally presented at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, the two parts of the play were performed individually on weeknights with both parts then performed on the same day during Saturday afternoon and evenings. The exception to this was the press night when both plays were presented in a single evening which began at 6pm and ended after midnight, drawing a number of disgruntled comments from critics!
  • There has been debate about why the plays did not go to the National Theatre with the playwright insisting on several occasions, the National Theatre wanted him to merge the plays into one single play. However, correspondence between the National Theatre's Artistic Director Richard Eyre and Alan Ayckbourn show this was not the case. Richard Eyre favoured showing both plays in one evening separated by a supper break, but for this to work, he hoped Alan would shave 20 - 30 minutes of each play to bring the entire evening's running time to around five hours. Alan would not agree to the suggestion and the production was instead presented as originally intended by Michael Codron in the West End, where it was less than successful.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of there copyright holder.