Improbable Fiction

Date 9th November 2013
Society Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue Royal Georgian Theatre, Richmond
Type of Production Play
Director Mike Walker


Author: Peter Parlour

Alan  Ayckbourn’s  plays have always been notable for his experimentation with staging and dramatic structure, and ‘Improbable Fiction’ is no different. In the first act, in Arnold Hassock’s living room, the Writer’s Circle are meeting to talk about their latest endeavours. They all sit round for the entire act talking about what they should be writing about.  Arnold  writes about instruction manuals, Jess Bales about Windsor Diaries,  farmer’s wife Vivvi  Dickins about Crime Stories. Grace Sims brought several  paintings, much to the amusement of the group, while Clem Pepp wrote about conspirators and Brevis Winterton wrote musical scores. Elsa Nolby was only there to make to tea, and to keep an eye on Arnold’s Mother, who was upstairs and never appeared.  I don’t think any of them did much writing.

This was a very interesting play as when we got to the second act it became a Melodrama, as they tried to solve the murder of Arnold’s Mother which was really hilarious.  Everybody, other than Arnold, took several parts.  We had a very strict Doctor, several appearances of what I would call the Ghostbusters, and a very demanding Police Inspector. Poor Elsa was the prime suspect. Arnold just couldn’t work out what was happening with the electric lights going out now and again.  This was an excellent play, very well acted by everyone.  Arnold was well played by Martin Ash who was quite confused throughout. Moira  Mason played Jess  Bales and several parts in the second act very well indeed. Ruth  Shaw played Vivvi, with her very infectious laugh, and was part of the Ghostbusters. Max Walker excelled as Clem, particularly in the second act. Norma  Rogers played Grace very well indeed, especially  in the second act act with several parts.  Alice Johnson played Elsa who, poor lass, didn’t know where she was. David Curtis was outstanding as Brevis from his first entrance, which was quite strong. He played the Doctor in the second act, and was excellent as the leader of what I call the Ghostbusters.

Mike Walker did an excellent job in directing this very tricky play. With such an experienced cast, I have no doubt his job was made a little easier, but with the quick changes they had to concentrate all the time.  A very unusual play, quite different, but an excellent evening’s entertainment,  Very well done Richmond.