Alan Ayckbourn’s acclaimed production of his latest play, The Girl Next Door, returns to Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in September for a limited run of just six performances before a short tour.
The 85th play by the prolific dramatist, who also directs, can be seen again at the SJT from 1 to 4 September. It will then tour to the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme from 7 to 18 September.
The play received its world premiere production at the SJT from 4 June to 3 July, performed by two alternate casts to protect against Covid. The returning cast are Bill Champion, Linford Johnson, Alexandra Mathie and Naomi Petersen, who performed the bulk of the shows in the original run.
The Girl Next Door sees veteran actor Rob Hathaway stuck at home during the summer of 2020 with only his sensible older sister for company. Rob has little to do but relive his glory days when, as the star of the nation’s favourite TV period drama National Fire Service, he ruled the roost as George ‘Tiger’ Jennings: wartime hero, and living legend among firefighters.
Then one day Rob spots a stranger hanging out the washing in the adjoining garden. But the neighbours haven’t been around for months. So who is the mysterious girl next door? And why is she wearing 1940s clothing?
Alan Ayckbourn says: “I was born in 1939, so my earliest memories are of a sort of lockdown: of crowding into Anderson shelters or subway stations; of sleeping in deckchairs or on my mother’s lap. 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 for those today crawling out of their metaphorical Anderson shelters blinking into the light.”
Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, assisted by the SJT’s Associate Director (Carne Trust) Chelsey Gillard, The Girl Next Door is designed by Kevin Jenkins with lighting design by Jason Taylor. Casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG.
The Girl Next Door can be seen in the Round at the SJT on Wednesday 1 September at 7.30pm; Thursday 2 September at 1.30pm and 7.30pm; on Friday 3 September at 7.30pm; and on Saturday 4 September at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Booking opens at 10am on Friday 16 July. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.