In the original production, the twenty-one characters were cast as follows:    . All three plays are single-scene plays, written to use the same set of a flat in the London Docklands , although each play is set in a different flat.
The set includes a living area, kitchen and balcony over the river, all of which have different functions in different plays. The plays were performed in the round for their original productions at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. However, in subsequent productions elsewhere they were re-staged for the proscenium. The first play, GamePlan , is the darkest of the three, and covers the theme of teenage prostitution — a theme far more contemporary than those often expected from Ayckbourn plays. The play centres on Lynette Saxon, a once-successful dotcom businesswoman now reduced to cleaning the offices she once managed, her year-old daughter Sorrel, and Sorrel's friend, Kelly Butcher.
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Sorrel intends to support herself and her mother by setting herself up as a high-class call girl inspired by a somewhat romanticised account from a former pupil , and enlists Kelly as her "maid". Sorrel is convinced she has everything worked out and does not see selling sex as a big deal. However, Sorrel's plan starts to unravel when her first client arrives, especially after he dies of a heart attack in her mother's flat.
The second play, FlatSpin , is a comedy thriller. Rosie Seymour is an out-of-work actress openly desperate for a job and a man. She is house-sitting for a flat owned by a Joanna Rupelford, when a handsome stranger, Sam Berryman, arrives and eventually tells her she is the most beautiful woman he has ever met and asks her out on a date, even though he appears to have mistaken her for the flat's owner.
Rosie, going along with this assumed identity, allows Sam back to the flat that evening to cook her dinner. The date is going extraordinarily well until Sam is suddenly called away, only for a couple of heavies to return with Sam later.
Alan Ayckbourn: The Plays - In Depth
It turns out that Sam, the heavies and the flat are all part of an elaborate drugs sting due to take place that evening. With Rosie having shown herself to the drug courier they intend to entrap, Rosie is talked into doing the sting herself.
RolePlay was the play written as the afterthought, but turned out to be the most successful play of the three. The play centres on a dinner party held by Justin Lazenby and Julie-Ann Jobson, where they intend to announce their engagement. Before the dinner begins, there are already signs of tension: Julie-Ann gets overly frantic about making the meal perfect for her parents her father, it later turns out, is a right-wing bigot , and Justin's alcoholic mother is clearly going to arrive paralytic. However, the biggest complication turns out to be when Paige Petite climbs onto the balcony, on the run from her violent boyfriend.
Trapped in the flat by her minder, Justin and Julie-Ann are forced to keep up appearances during the dinner whilst the stand-off is played out.
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The three plays then toured,  including a return to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to compensate for the earlier short run of RolePlay. The trilogy was chosen as the inaugural productions for the newly built Gala Theatre in Durham in January The plays began a West End run at the Duchess Theatre on 7 September , with the same cast and production team.
All three plays have received further performances by other theatre companies since, but, so far, no professional theatre has attempted to re-stage the whole trilogy. GamePlan was reviewed first. The critics reacted positively to the concept of a return to repertory theatre, and the departure to more contemporary themes, although they were split on how good GamePlan was as a play.
FlatSpin received relatively little attention as an individual play, with most critics choosing to review it as part of the set along with RolePlay.
Alan Ayckbourn Plays 4 by Alan Ayckbourn
When RolePlay was reviewed, it received unanimous praise from the critics. The trilogy as a whole then received further praise throughout its tour and West End performances, with Michael Billington of The Guardian dubbing the cast "The Magnificent Seven". Ayckbourn also heavily criticised the West End for casting cinema, pop and television stars instead of theatre actors, particularly their lack of voice projection.
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Alain Resnais died last March at the age of 91, just three weeks after his final work was among the prize winners at Berlin. It's heartening to discover that the playful, experimental instincts that marked his 70 year career remained constant until the…. Ghosts are back in vogue. What is it about those French New Wave filmmakers? Godard, Rivette, Chabrol and Rohmer all continue to make films, and here year-old Alain Resnais returns with this elegant and melancholic study of emotional repression, loneliness and longing.