Sunday 24 February 2019


This year Alan Ayckbourn celebrates his 80th birthday, his authorship of 70 plays and 60 years in the theatre. The Sewell Barn Theatre is pleased to recognise the darkly-comic genius of Britain’s favourite playwright by staging its 12th Ayckbourn production in its own 40 year history: Confusions, comprising five interconnected one-act plays.

Photographs: Andrew Evans
There have been huge amounts of laughter at this wonderful set of plays and at the antics of our performers - interspersed with moments of pin-drop silence as we catch glimpses of dark sadness underpinning the characters' lives. Here are some of the lovely comments.

"What an excellent show... a huge well done to all involved ... I laughed so much." Ruth H

"Fantastic work Cassie Tillett and Clare Williamson, we were chuckling throughout! Congratulations on a brilliant production!" Jess H

"Confusions was side splittingly funny at times... awkward and sad too. Well done all involved." Kathy S

"We saw a brilliant production yesterday by the "amateurs" at the Sewell Barn Theatre. No professionals could have done better." Philip M

"Well done on Confusions - great cast and design all round - I must say John Griffin did some great work as Harry in the second play - quite an arc, true tragicomedy!" Richard H

"A fierce, frantic, furiously funny farce of manners, secrets, regrets and mores! A ducking delight!" Vincent G

"Saw it Saturday night - excellent acting." David P

"A quacking evening of comedy and anarchy, presented by an accomplished cast who skillfully create a flock of absurd characters who entertain and provoke throughout. And the set was very coot [sic] too!" Barnaby M

"Funny, poignant and a great night out with talented people! Fabulous." Paula M

"As good as I saw in the West End years ago. Cast were great and stage crew did a great job."

And we are always delighted to receive considered, intelligent reviews from our good friend Rob Fradley-Wilde; we value his opinions and are especially pleased when he enjoys our shows this much:

"One of the most enjoyable evenings I've spent for a very long time. In these five short plays Ayckbourn's writing is, as always, deceptively simple, skimming us along from one farcical mishap to another, but so often revealing the heart's grief underneath, almost incidentally, but always with a compassion that is the richer for being objective – no one is left out. Ordinary people, in ordinary situations; but they quickly take a special place in everyone's memory.

Five top-class actors here made it seem easy – but what work must have gone into it all! Very skillful performances [23 performances in total!] from Gill Tichborne, Kevin Oelrichs, John Griffin, Dominic Sands, and Harriet Waterhouse. Some of my favourite Norfolk actors here, delivering their dependable high quality, from irrepressible ebullience to deep pathos and ingenuous sensitivity; but I have to refrain from individual evaluation, partly because they were such a team, all pulling so magnificently together, but mainly because l'd be up all night, finding so many happy remembrances of this evening.

Even the scene changers worked with smashing aplomb – the happiness of the whole production spilled out to us in many ways. And the five sets, designed by Phil Williamson, were made similar enough to be workable, yet were individually distinctive, and more than adequate to set these sparkling performances.

A less than full house made up for numbers with enthusiasm. Everyone had a super time. But why oh why don't more folk come? Obviously, they don't know what they're missing. Rack your brains, people! This theatre hardly ever deserves to have less than full houses. Any suggestions? This is the real original 3-D – and warm and sweaty and living and more real than anything that the subtlest electronics can do. Why don't they understand this!

Mesdames Tillett and Williamson should be very very pleased. I don't know how they did it – this must be a hell of a thing to produce, in its range and complexity and pacing – but their sureness and instinct is proven right, in this latest success from the Sewell Barn."