Weston’s ‘Round & Round’ is comic precision in a delightful farce

By David Lampe-Wilson
©2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Norman Conquest has landed onstage at Weston Playhouse with Round and Round the Garden, the third play in Alan Ayckbourn comic trilogy, bringing a breath of fresh air to relieve the hot summer nights. The first two plays of the trilogy were previously presented at Northern Stage and at the Dorset Theater Festival. All three plays share the same cast and each play in the trilogy stands on its own. Not having seen the others will not diminish your enjoyment of this production.


Caitlin Clouthier’s Sarah’s attempt at a civilized weekend is spoiled by shenanigans. All photos by Hubert Schriebl

Round and Round the Garden is performed in two acts.  Act I sets up the story for the farcical goings-on in Act II. Once Act II is in motion, the play descends into a whirlwind of high humor and base pratfalls. And just when you think things could not get any more comically convoluted, playwright Ayckbourn finds another amusing moment to unravel.

The story is set on a summer weekend in 1973. Two sisters, Ruth and Annie, have very different lives. Ruth is married to her job and Annie is married to taking care of their ailing mother. Ruth is also married to Norman, an assistant librarian with an eye for the ladies and a quest to make every woman he meets satisfied and happy.

The two women have an older brother named Reg who’s married to Sarah, a woman of supreme self-control and a sharp tongue where Norman is concerned. And Annie is dating the ineffectual Tom, a veterinarian who is so dull that jokes elude him.


Tom, played by David Mason, and Annie (Jenni Putney) and share a moment in the garden.

What begins with Annie and Tom planning to run off for a hedonistic weekend, slowly turns into a comic confection of missed opportunities, frustrated romance and bitter recriminations. But it’s all veddy British and highly amusing.

Jenni Putney, David Mason, Richard Gallagher, Mark Light-Orr, Caitlin Clouthier and Ashton Heyl form a winning ensemble. They have been together for months performing this trilogy, and in Round and Round the Garden they absolutely sparkle, under the assured direction of Michael Berresse.

Norman, played by Richard Gallagher, drives Putney's Annie mad.

Norman, played by Richard Gallagher, drives Putney’s Annie mad.

David I. Arsenault’s scenic design is winningly executed: an aging Victorian manse choked in ivy with a hazardous garden that might please Edward Gorey. Charles Schoonmaker’s costumes seem natural on these characters and Stuart Duke’s lighting takes us from day to night and back again.

Round and Round the Garden continues its comic precision through Saturday, July 30 at the Weston Playhouse. Those looking for a rollicking time will quickly discover that  this frantic farce is an answer to your prayers.

Round and Round the Garden continues through July 30 at The Weston Playhouse, 12 Park St., Weston. Performances: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets call 802-824-5288 or click here. For more information,  click here.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeIn the ArtsReviews

About the Author: After 30 years as a theater critic and arts editor for a Connecticut daily newspaper, David Lampe-Wilson transplanted to Vermont with his wife and two cats.

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