The Norman Conquests - Living Together: World Premiere ReviewsThe following reviews mark the only two publications to review Living Together during its original production at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. At the time, the play had a different title (and together the plays were not known as The Norman Conquests trilogy). The play was originally called Make Yourself At Home and later retitled Living Together for the London premiere in 1974. All reviews on this page are the copyright of the respective publication and / or author and should not be reproduced. Extracts from reviews of the original West End production of The Norman Conquests can be found here.
Make Yourself At Home In Scarborough (by Robin Thornber)
"I wrote down a few of the jokes to pass on to you. But you wouldn't really appreciate them. They wilt like cut blooms when you take them from their context. It's partly because Alan Ayckbourn's new play, Make Yourself At Home, is the middle one of a series of three, all about the same family house party.
I saw the first one, Fancy Meeting You, and it gave this an extra dimension of underlying chuckle, a nudge and a wink every now and then like someone at a party with a private joke. It also, of course, meant that you knew the basic structure of the plot. But the story of Norman's disastrous attempt to seduce his wife's sister has enough new twists to keep you biting your nails until the third glimpse of chaos Round And Round The Garden comes into the repertory next month.
But there's more to it than that. Mr Ayckbourn's hothouse jokes go all limp and sorry when you turn them over in your hand because they belong not only to the plot but also to the cockpit atmosphere of that intense little theatre-in-the-round in Scarborough Library.
This may sound high flown for what is, after all, nothing more than a light-hearted seaside comedy. But the company, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, succeeds through enthusiasm and meticulously observed acting in building up an emotional involvement that sucks you in like a whirlpool. Ronald Herdman's plodding, naive vet; Rosalind Adams's long suffering Annie, waiting for him to propose; Stanley Page's genial hen-pecked Reg; and Alex Marshall's hyper-tense, organising wife; Janet Dale's superior Ruth, and Christopher Godwin's gangling ebullient Norman: you get to know and love - and recognise - them all."
(The Guardian, 27 June 1973)
Sustained Effort (by John Draper)
"Having belatedly, seen number two in the Alan Ayckbourn trilogy at the Library Theatre, I can report that I found Make Yourself At Home as solidly funny as the other two, All three can be recommended to anybody who has not yet made the trip to the theatre.
Much of the credit for this must go to the cast, whose energy and skill is maintained throughout all three plays. That sort of sustained effort is very hard to do, and it was interesting to see how the characters became more credible and rounded with each production.
Mr. Ayckbourn was splendidly consistent, too. For example, Alex Marshall's horrible wife and mother, revealed as a howling bitch in Fancy Meeting You is confirmed by the end of Round And Round The Garden as a one hundred per cent, gilt-edged, copper-bottomed, dyed-in-the-wool super-bitch of the sort which has sorely tried the lives of everybody around her; Ronald Herdman's sluggish witted man becomes so exasperating one wonders how he has managed to escape being strangled before now; Rosalind Adams's put-upon drudge becomes the object of deep compassion. Perhaps the greatest achievement is that the trilogy as a whole emerges as far more impressive than the sum of its parts."
(Scarborough Evening News, 4 August 1973)
All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.