THE Ilkley Playhouse’s next production is Role Play, from the overworked pen of Yorkshire-based playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

Since his first works in the late 1950s, Ayckbourn has written over 80 plays (to put it in context, that’s more than twice as many as Shakespeare managed) and is still writing and directing from his Scarborough base.

He specialises in well-observed comedies satirising the middle classes, although he’s happy to stray from his comfort zone – he’s been described as “our most famous theatrical innovator”, and the recipient of over 40 awards. His plays have been translated into over 35 languages, suggesting that for a supposedly quintessentially English writer, he’s mastered the art of tapping into universal themes.

The third play in a trilogy all set in the same Docklands yuppy flat around the turn of the millennium, Role Play earned enthusiastic reviews for its 2001 premiere. A mismatched couple host a dinner party at which they plan to announce their engagement to their parents. One dares to wonder whether things may perhaps not go absolutely perfectly when a lap-dancer on the run from her gangland boyfriend drops in, hotly pursued by her gun-wielding minder.

Seemingly absurd when written down in black-and-white, part of Ayckbourn’s genius is an ability to make the unfeasible a credible mirror for society’s eccentricities. A feast of moral confusion, it’s hilarious, edgy and thought-provoking.

Join us for the Role Play dinner party on the Wednesday, January 17 with repeat servings until January 27.

If you are still looking for a ticket for Peter Pan, the Junior Greenroom’s production of JM Barrie’s classic tale please contact the Ilkley Playhouse office. There will be two matinee performances starting at 2pm on January 14 and 15. Role Play is on from Wednesday, January 17 to Saturday, January 27.

To book please call 01943 609 539 or go to