This amateur production of the Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious comedy, Improbable Fiction left me rolling in the aisles. (Notably these are very narrow ones as they form part of the cosy, yet charmingly modest theatre tucked away in the Lace Market!)
During the first act we are introduced to an eclectic mix of characters, which form the Pendon Writers’ Circle. These are a combination of aspiring writers who have problems with actually generating any work and appear to talk about the process more than actually writing anything; a topic as an English student I can firmly relate too!
The pace of the first act is rather slow and tedious but I was kept entertained due to the high standard of the comedic dialogue. However this is all turned extravagantly on its head at the end of the first act, which after the idleness of the previous scenes forced me bolt upright. Incidentally, knocking the drink out of the hand of the lady sat next to me, leaving me both with an eager desire to find out what would happen in the second act as well as an incredibly red face!
The second act is full of such energy and action that part of you questions if you have accidently walked into another theatre during the interval! We are instantly propelled into a new world of improbable fiction that results in amusing incidents and comic situations that are clearly the result of the Arnold’s rather creative imagination reflecting back on his fellow writer’s stereotypical book ideas.
A special commendation must be given to the cast whose perplexing ability to switch between various character roles, left me in awe. A particular note must also be mentioned to Andy Haynes, who played the leading role of Arnold Hassock. His skilful use of excellent comic delivery was combined with the right amount of sentiment to stir my emotions and supply some of the more reflective moments of the play.
I would firmly recommend that anybody in need of a laugh should make a special effort to go see this play. Indeed, patience is required to endure the first act but it is absolutely worth the 40 minute wait, even just to see the hilarious and hearty finale that’s filled with music, dance and levity.