The Revengers' Comedies: Synopsis by Alan AyckbournCast: 7 male / 7 female (this includes the recommended doubling-up of certain roles)
Part 1 running time (approximate): 2 hours - not including the interval
Part 2 running time (approximate): 2 hours 15 minutes - not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French
The piece starts with a brief prologue on Albert Bridge, SW3, at midnight. Two strangers meet there. Henry, a 42 year old executive, divorced and recently made redundant, and Karen, 25, rich, beautiful, upper class and decidedly eccentric. Both are apparently trying to jump off the bridge and end it all. (Karen has been crossed in love).
As a result of their meeting, they drive to Karen's huge mid Victorian country home in Dorset where they strike a bargain whereby each agrees to exact revenge on behalf of the other.
Henry sort of gets talked into it but never really pursues the idea with much enthusiasm, at least not initially. He quite enjoys living the life of a country squire in Karen's home with just her equally dotty 21 year old brother Oliver for company and two very eccentric female servants.
Complications ensue when Henry falls in love with the object of Karen's revenge, the lovely farmer's wife Imogen Staxton-Billing. Instead of plotting her downfall, Henry starts an affair that is conducted wherever the couple can meet - mostly in cowsheds and piggeries. Despite the presence of Imogen's boorish husband Anthony, things for Henry are pretty idyllic.
But chickens tend to come home to roost. While he has been enjoying the countryside, Karen has been having a ball in the city, doing a sort of one-woman take over bid for Lembridge Tennit, the vast conglomerate for which Henry originally worked. Starting as a humble 'temp' secretary, Karen begins her Machiavellian climb to the top. Two of her bosses meet violent deaths and a third (female) has a nervous breakdown.
Henry meantime finds himself fighting a shotgun duel with Imogen's husband and (by sheer fluke) killing him. He is now free to marry Imogen but, increasingly, he is torn between his love for her and his promise to Karen to wreak (Karen's) revenge on her. Karen, now a top executive, returns and demands her pound of flesh. Thwarted, she burns down the country home, makes vague threats on Imogen's life and has Henry fired from his new job.
A final showdown occurs back on Albert Bridge with Henry and the two women. True love conquers and Henry and Imogen walk off into the sunset. Karen, now completely off her trolley, is left to commit her final act of 'revenge' on the couple as she hurls herself into the Thames.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.