When I complimented producer of “Henceforward…”
Wendy Goddard on her superb show, she commented on the difficulty of marketing this excellent play which is now on at the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg.
Said Wendy: “Henceforward…” is one of Ayckbourn’s quirky black comedies about human self-deception and isolation. As always with Ayckbourn, he manages to juggle humour and poignancy, laughter and pathos. The struggle of the artist – and the struggle for love – is explored in this dark, futuristic tale.
People who are familiar with Alan Ayckbourn’s work, know that he often straddles the line between comedy and farce, combining humour, seriousness, and an underlying thread of uneasiness. This is fine, until you try to describe the play in four words on the poster.
The current production of ‘Henceforward…’ (on at the Masque until Saturday) has been billed as ‘A Futuristic Black Comedy’, which is a totally inadequate description of this remarkable work.
Responses from potential theatre-goers have ranged from ‘I don’t like Science Fiction’ to ‘Has it only got Black People in it?’
The British press has described the play as follows:
“This brilliant play offers an ultimately bleak vision of men, machines and society. But the exhilarating Ayckbournian paradox is that the darker it gets the funnier it becomes” ~ The Guardian
“A superbly constructed comedy” ~ Daily Telegraph
“Nobody can be as funny as Alan Ayckbourn, or as frightening” ~ Financial Times
Theatre-goers who have seen the current production at the Masque, have suggested that the play would be better served by being called ‘hilarious’, ‘dark’ rather than ‘black’ or even ‘a seriously funny play’. If you have seen the production, how would you describe it in such a way that would appeal to audiences without being misleading?”
We so enjoyed the show, every bit of it – the set, the story line, the humour, the acting and the fact that it was so different from what we expected and from most of the shows that we have seen. Do get to see it.
To those of you who have seen the play: please send us answer Wendy’s question above!