Stranger than (science) fiction. Ayckbourn’s Henceforward heads to Royal & Derngate Theatre

Henceforward. Images Tony Bartholomew

Alan Ayckbourn’s 1987 comedy Henceforward…comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre, this February in a new production directed by the author, one of Britain’s most successful and prolific playwrights.

This was Ayckbourn’s 34th play and his first tentative steps into science fiction. Its West End production, starring Ian McKellen and Jane Asher, went on to win the best comedy section in the Evening Standard Awards in 1989.

But can this comedy, set in the near future, stand the test of time?

All alone, high up in an isolated, derelict suburban tower block, avant garde composer Jerome struggles vainly to complete his life’s masterwork about love.

With the help of a deranged android childminder, he hatches a plan to retrieve his source of artistic inspiration, his beloved daughter Geain, from his hostile and estranged ex-wife.

But the best laid plans of men and mechanical women…

Henceforward…is set in the near future. It premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 1987, then played at London’s Vaudeville Theatre a year later.

This revival follows a hugely successful production in Germany, which opened in February 2015 and was so popular, regularly playing to full houses in the 1200-seat theatre, that the run was extended and the show ended up playing for over a year.
The cast comprises Bill Champion, Andy Cryer, Jessie Hart, Nigel Hastings, Velvet Hebditch, Jacqueline King and Laura Matthews.

Henceforward… takes to Northampton’s Royal stage from February 6-11.

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