Friday 19 January 2024

Comic Potential

by Alan Ayckbourn / directed by Joe Flatt
18-20, 24-27 January 7.30pm, matinée 27 January 2.30pm

Tickets available online at £12 and £13 from TicketSource via, also by phone via 0333 6663366. Booking fees are included in the ticket prices. Includes strong language and adult themes. 

Is it humour that makes us human? Can you fall in love with a robot? Alan Ayckbourn asks those questions in his prescient – yet strangely retro – 53rd drama, Comic Potential. Part science fiction, part traditional romance, but mostly riotous farce, the play introduces us to robot actoids in a TV studio in the not-so-distant future. First performed in 1998, Comic Potential not only explores the implications of our relationship with technology, but also provides a “tremulously exquisite love story, a superb satire on television and other human follies, a wise and serious drama full of playfully tossed-off profundities about sundry aspects of life and art, and an irresistible evening in the theatre” (John Simon, New York magazine).

Photography: Barry Parsons

"I attended Comic Potential Friday 26th Jan. I had the pleasure of watching probably the best acting I've enjoyed for an age. I'm included London theatre productions where all the actors are named. I'm surprised that I'm unable to find who played the parts especially, as I've already said, the complete suspension of disbelief due to the remarkable cast. In-house actors? amateurs? Travelling band? no idea. However, great evening." Steve

"Really enjoyed this, excellent cast and performance." Ross

""Another Sewell Barn triumph". Tim 

"Went last night with friends and it was brilliant. Funny, insightful and extremely heartfelt. It was surprisingly deep and thought provoking as well. The whole cast had multiple roles and worked incredibly hard. Well done everyone, a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening." KatLou

"It's great. Highly recommended." Ian

"What a good show. Well done everyone. Intriguing premise, well performed and beautifully directed. Shout out to Harry Quirk for a fabulous performance among a strong cast." Marston

"Absolutely brilliant performances all round. Excellent evening." Jane

"Throughout the performance, [Hannah] Wood masterfully plays out this complex role, giving a well rounded performance that balances both her comedic skill and her dramatic acting chops, helping create a lead we could root for and connect to in this otherwise foreign setting. This is only complemented by her and Garvey’s strong chemistry as the two leads, bouncing off each other whilst their easy comedic physicality steers us through the story. There is something to be said for the physicality of all the cast members, as the strong blocking from director Joe Flatt is pulled off seamlessly creating a constantly moving, and always interesting, stage presence." Biff Pearson - UK Theatre Network [click here for full review]

"Enjoyed watching all of you perform this fab show last night. Congratulations." Diane

"Went to a hugely enjoyable show last night! Comic Potential was full of surprises - very funny, energetic and satisfying. An unusual play from Alan Ayckbourn brought to life by a great team of talented actors. Well done to director Joe Flatt and his team." Sewell Barn Theatre triumphs again! Clare Williamson [FOH Manager]

"...[in the second half] Hannah Wood as the amazing actoid Jacie Triplethree is really allowed to let rip. Jacie has been trained on dozens of TV bit parts and they come flooding out in inappropriate situations, or she simply lacks the context to know how to behave – captivated by a hotel reception bell or madly hopping around a clothes shop in a dress carrier, Wood is a delight to watch in these manic episodes. With Lewis Garvey as her straight-man and mentor, and further supporting performances by Beven and Jacob, Wood is the beating (android) heart of the piece, with especially strong delivery of a machine-gun selection of cliches on love... Good actors really do make all the difference, even if they’re playing robots." James Goffin - Cultivated [click here for full review]

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