Improbable Fiction

Date 26th October 2023
Society Lyndhurst Drama & Musical Society
Venue Vernon Theatre, Lyndhurst
Type of Production Play
Director Stevie Parker
Written By Alan Ayckbourn


Author: Chris Horton

Improbable Fiction by Alan Ayckbourn is an excellent choice of play for a group as it uses one set but has two very distinctively different halves.   In the opening act we are introduced to a group of writers.  We learn of their genres: sci-fi, thrillers, instructional manuals etc.  We also learn their foibles, back stories and get an insight into their vastly different lives.       It is also a play that has fairly equal sized parts and therefore gives everyone a chance to shine.  In the second half, fiction and fantasy replace reality as the various book characters come alive.

The set was a perfect replica of a comfortable middle class home with tasteful decor and stairs leading to an upper, unseen, level. There were masses of props including sci-fi equipment, an old style phone, books, papers, and some lovely pieces of art.  There was a collective gasp of admiration when the giant walnut was wheeled onto the stage. This was masterpiece of construction and sturdy enough to house the goblin who used it as a boat.

In the second half, when historical couples come to life and all the genres merge, there were numerous costume changes ranging from Victoria nightgown, day dresses, maid’s outfit to futuristic apparel and all the cast were appropriately dressed with good attention to detail. 

The lighting was well controlled: up and down as necessary in between scenes and to indicate changes in the timeline.

This was a great ensemble piece of theatre.  The characters were well rounded and there were strong performances from all. The stories, and characters, were interwoven with hilarious results and the characters brought to life the ideas mentioned in the meeting in the first act; such as the incorrect use of grammar in the sci-fi scenes and flowerly language in the historical novel.   Director Stevie Parker and the production team are to be congratulated on staging a polished production in the telling of this story with a somewhat unusual and unexpected ending than the first half promised.