Bedroom Farce: Quotes by Other People

This page includes quotes about the play Bedroom Farce by people other than Alan Ayckbourn, predominantly drawn from books and articles about Alan Ayckbourn or British theatre; it does not include quotes from reviews, which can be found in the Reviews pages.

"The first play by Alan Ayckbourn to be seen at the National Theatre was Bedroom Farce in 1977. It followed a long courtship by the NT's then Director, Peter Hall, which included a memorable line to the effect: 'You may be able to do without the National Theatre but can the National Theatre do without you?'"
(Paul Allen, National Theatre House & Garden programme)

"One thing the play [Bedroom Farce] is not, is a bedroom farce in the sense made famous by the likes of Feydeau or Ben Travers, somewhat mechanical (if breathtakingly funny) pieces in which the characters are there to serve the brilliance of the comic construction."
(Paul Allen, Bedroom Farce programme, 2009)

"Where did he get the couple [in Bedroom Farce] from? Ayckbourn usually answers this question - with regard to any of his plays - by saying: "They are all me, really." The men certainly are. He [Ayckbourn] had been laid up, like Nick, with a bad back (and had been a very poor patient) just before he wrote it [Bedroom Farce]; he shares Malcolm's capacity for joking at the wrong moment and desperate frustration when gadgetry lets him down; in his youth, he though, he had blundered through others' relationships, like Trevor, as well as his own; and Ernest's simple longing for a good night's sleep, uncluttered by deep and meaningful conversation, is keenly felt by an author who has always been able to sleep to Olympic standards."
(Paul Allen, Bedroom Farce programme, 2009)

"When Ayckbourn does turn to an apparently conventional setting and idiom in Bedroom Farce, it is to show that the express desire of the occupiers of all three bedrooms is for a good night's sleep. That they are prevented from this by the squabbles of Susannah and Trevor has got nothing to do with infidelities enjoyed or planned; it is simply that Susannah and Trevor can only find peace when they have totally discomfited everyone else (when they do finally get together, they quite unconcernedly dispossess Kate and Malcolm of their bed for the night). Bedroom Farce is not about adultery or permissiveness but is a wry look at the quixotic ways in which couples contrive to live together amicably; it is less concerned with the capriciousness of wicked instincts than the waywardness of affection in regulating marital harmony."
(Richard Allen Cave: New British Drama In Performance On The London Stage 1970 - 1985, 1987, Colin Smythe)

"My own feeling is that Bedroom Farce (one of his very best) is actually just as 'serious' as Ayckbourn's doomier plays. It carries an audience along on an almost unending crest of laughter; but that laughter is anything but mindless. For what is the play actually about? What Schopenhauer called 'the tyranny of the weak', the capacity of a neurotic married couple not only to export their problems but also to exacerbate the crises in other people's marriages. It also deals with parental destructiveness, marital violence, failures of communication, male vanity. Where a lesser dramatist might set up these themes and then find an action that illustrated them, Ayckbourn sets up a brilliantly comic device, lets his imagination take over and allows the ideas to spring out of exact observation of human behaviour. He reminds us all the time that a play is an artefact, a toy, a construct; but that, at its best, it can also illuminate the human condition."
(Michael Billington: Alan Ayckbourn, 1990, Palgrave)

"Trevor and Susannah have the narcissism of the neurotic, the ruthlessness of the vulnerable, the total insensitivity to others of those who register their own emotional disturbances with seismic precision; and they are two of Ayckbourn's best creations in that we could all put a name to their real-life counterparts."
(Michael Billington: Alan Ayckbourn, 1990, Palgrave)

"Alan Ayckbourn's new play, Bedroom Farce, is wonderful, a bit of a masterpiece. Not only does reading it make me shout with laughter, it has a serious and true heart, like all good comedy. The play shows many facets of married life, and, among all the jokes, is very sad."
(Sir Peter Hall: Peter Hall's Diaries, 1983, Hamish Hamilton)

"It [Bedroom Farce] is, though, quite wonderful accurate in observation, precisely engineered and beautiful in its execution."
(Sir Peter Hall: Peter Hall's Diaries, 1983, Hamish Hamilton)

An immensely amusing comedy of manners about disappointed expectations, Bedroom Farce offers neither the titillation nor the frenzy its title suggests, Ayckbourn daringly disappointing that portion of his audience that entered the theatre anticipating a bed-hopping sex farce. Bed-hopping there is; sex there is not. The discrepancy between the title and the play itself suggests its theme: one must accept life as it is and not as one romantically imagines it ought to be. Its funniest moment, hardly tingling with sexual innuendo, involves the oldest couple settling down in bed for a snack of pilchards on toast. Delia and Ernest may not be ecstatically happy, but like the elderly couple in Family Circles, they have made the accommodation that marriage offers only to those who have survived many years of discontent."
(Albert E. Kalson: Laughter In The Dark, 1991, Associated Universities Press)

"Bedroom Farce is mainly notable for the sympathetic irony of it characterisations and for the ingenuity with which Ayckbourn links his couples and keeps the action - consecutively and sometimes simultaneously - in their bedrooms."
(Oleg Kerensky: The New British Drama, 1977, Hamish Hamilton)

"I think that Bedroom Farce is as alertly true and observant as anything he [Ayckbourn] has done."
(J.C. Trewin, Birmingham Post, 24 March 1977)

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.