How The Other Half Loves

From 7 July 2016, Closed 1 October 2016 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London

A major revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy How The Other Half Loves in London starring Nicholas Le Prevost, Jenny Seagrove, Tamzin Outhwaite, Jason Merrells, Matthew Cottle and Gillian Wright.

As Bob and Fiona clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses' intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Featherstone become hopelessly stuck in the middle which culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time, after which the future of all three couples seems in jeopardy.

The cast for this revival features Nicholas Le Prevost and Jenny Seagrove as 'Frank and Fiona Foster', Jason Merrell and Tamzin Outhwaite as 'Bob and Teresa Phillips' and Matthew Cottle and Gillian Wright as 'William and Mary Featherstone'. Directed by Alan Strachan with designs by Julie Godfrey.

Nicholas Le Prevost's West End credits include Jerry Zaks' revival of Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic Theatre in 2005 and Richard Eyre's premiere of Simon Gray's The Last Cigarette at the Trafalgar Studio in 2009. Jenny Seagrove's London stage credits include Sir Peter Hall's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2010; Rufus Norris' revival of Clifford Odets' The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre in 2010; Alan Strachan's revivals of Somerset Maugham's The Letter at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2007 and Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular at the Garrick Theatre in 2007; Anthony Page's revival of Tennessee Williams's The Night Of The Iguana at the Lyric Theatre in 2005; Guy Retallack's revival of David Hare's Secret Rapture at the Lyric Theatre in 2003; and Richard Olivier's revival of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker in 1994. Alan Ayckbourn's West End plays include Communicating Doors, A Chorus of Disapproval, Bedroom Farce, Woman in Mind, Absurd Person Singular, Absent Friends, The Norman Conquests and Relatively Speaking.

When this production opend at the Haymarket Theatre Royal in March 2016, Neil Norman in The Daily Express described how "Alan Ayckbourn's early comedy about cross-class infidelity is a marvel of theatrical invention... more than a verbal farce, this is a brilliantly orchestrated piece of theatre whose antediluvian attitudes are smothered by a set of strong performances and Alan Strachan's sure-footed direction." Dominic Maxwell in The Times said: "Stick with Alan Strachan's expert revival, after a slow first half-hour in which it establishes its bold theatrical conceit - and you soon find yourself in the midst of one of the funniest shows in town... Laugh builds on laugh, tension on tension, till the bittersweet end." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph commented that, "penned early on in his career, shortly after his breakthrough hit Relatively Speaking, 1969's How The Other Half Loves at once shows its age and reveals its timeless capacity to amuse in Alan Strachan's delightful revival... if half the new plays hitting our stages at the moment were half as accomplished, what a wonderful world this would be." Sarah Hemming in The Financial Times highlighted that, "enjoyably revived by Alan Strachan... what emerges clearly is Alan Ayckbourn's keen observation of class and social change and his sympathy for female characters." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail thought that while "things take a while to get going... the acting is so good, and the characters sufficiently timeless, that the show eventually soars... thoroughly jolly revival." Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard explained that "this one, which dates from the late Sixties and originally ran for 869 performances on Shaftesbury Avenue, feels dated but is often amusing... Alan Strachan's production, staunchly true to the original Sixties setting, is efficient rather than inspired and could do with more pace. But the performances are bright." Michael Billington in The Guardian wrote that "Alan Strachan's cleverly orchestrated revival of Alan Ayckbourn's second big hit reminds us just what a comic master he is. He combines technical ingenuity with perceptive comments on class and marriage, that remain shockingly undated, even in our supposedly egalitarian society."

"Alan Ayckbourn's technical innovation is as striking as ever, with the same set serving for two sitting rooms and the same table for two consecutive dinner parties. But the social and sexual attitudes now feel coy. The play has all the tics and tropes of a sitcom. The basic 'sit' is contrived, but much of the 'com' is very funny. The acting is uneven but Tamzin Outhwaite, Gillian Wright and the peerless Nicholas le Prevost excel in Alan Strachan's neatly choreographed production." The Sunday Expres

"The look is archaic... Yet, though this farce dates from 1969, what emerges fresh-minted in Alan Strachan's beautifully paced production is the verve and inventiveness of Alan Ayckbourn's plotting. A comedy of infidelity, English class and manners, the stroke of comic genius here is to have the play happen in two homes simultaneously. The actors occupy a single stage and must ignore anything happening in their line of vision, but beyond their imagined domestic sphere... It's all a hoot, with superlative playing from Jenny Seagrove, Tamzin Outhwaite and Jason Merrells. However, it is Nicholas Le Prevost as the unwaveringly decent cuckold Frank who steals the show." The Sunday Times

"The first major West End revival for 20 years of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy of adulterous errors shows why the prolific playwright is such a master of his art. Frank is oblivious to the affair his wife Fiona is having with his loutish employee Bob, whose own wife Terry is struggling as a stay-at-home mum... As two dinner parties held on successive nights but played out simultaneously bring matters to a head... The play is grounded in its 1969 setting with all its class snobbery and gender inequality but the zing of the dialogue and the brilliance of the staging remains untarnished." The Sunday Mirror

" You may not expect it but every pause in an Alan Ayckbourn play is as measured and deliberate as one of Harold Pinter's. Possibly even more so in this farcical, forensic dissection of three variously unsatisfactory marriages from 1969. It's not only the text that relies on split-second timing and the most minute emphasis to reveal every tiny emotional crack and land every laugh, but also the action: one set is simultaneously two different houses and, even more astonishing (and hilarious), simultaneously two different dinner parties on two different evenings, which has one set of guests swivelling dizzily on their dining chairs. It's Ayckbourn at his most ingenious and insightful. Alan Strachan's perfectly cast revival couldn't be sharper. It's very much a period piece, written long before mobile phones, when illicit love affairs relied on landlines and chauvinistic husbands expected wives to make their breakfas." The Mail on Sunday

How The Other Half Loves in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 23 March 2016, opened 31 March 2016 and closed on 25 June 2016 - transfers to the Duke of York's Theatre from 7 July 2016 through to 1 October 2016.