Rapid repeat for new Ayckbourn play

Bill Champion (left), Naomi Petersen and Linford Johnson in Ayckbourn's The Girl Next Door. Pic: Tony Bartholemew


Paul Genty

12 Jul 2021

Acclaimed play is the author's 85th - and appears only two months after first run

Anyone in the Scarborough area this September can catch the latest play from veteran writer and director Alan Ayckbourn as it gets a second quick bite at the cherry.

Ayckbourn’s 85th play, The Girl Next Door, won high acclaim on its first run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in June – so it’s coming back, for just six performances (September 1-4), before a one-stop tour to the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme from September 7-18.

The play’s world premiere was performed by alternate casts to protect against Covid, and the returning cast is Bill Champion, Linford Johnson, Alexandra Mathie and Naomi Petersen, who performed the bulk of the original performnces.

In The Girl Next Door, veteran actor Rob Hathaway (Champion) – one time star of a TV period drama as a wartime firefighter – is stuck at home in summer 2020 with only his sensible older sister for company. One day he spots a stranger hanging out the washing next door. But the neighbours haven’t been around for months – and why is the mystery woman dressed like someone from the 1940s?

Ayckbourn said: “I was born in 1939, so my earliest memories are of a sort of lockdown in Anderson shelters or subway stations. Things have come full circle for me. The Girl Next Door is an affirmation of love across the generations – I hope it’s positive and hopeful."

Booking opens at 10am on July 16 here.