Time And Time Again: Quotes by Other People

This page includes quotes about the play Time And Time Again 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.

"Time And Time Again, the managerial Graham's catch-phrase, is unarguably a comedy, but the cheerful misery of Anna, trying to fill her life with domestic ritual, and the Chekhovian sense of loss sustained by all parties at the end are a strong hint of the overtly darker plays to come. The comedy derives absolutely from character and the conjunction of characters: Leonard's accident-prone lack of athleticism, for example, matches Peters sporty but unimaginative personality and Graham's petty tyranny, just as his dreaminess appeals to Joan and his lack of commitment repels her. While Anna's traditionalist good nature means she will never escape from her husband and, probably, a life of terminal boredom and frustration, so Graham's essentially cowardly nature requires an Anna to invest him with authority somewhere in his life. This balance, allied to Ayckbourn's almost uncanny understanding of how use of space can bring a text to life, make this play funnier and more satisfying in perform even than it appears on reading."
(Paul Allen: A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn’s Plays, 2004, Faber)

"The play's real advance, however, is that it shows Ayckbourn creating in Leonard a character who has a life before and after the play, who exists in the
three dimensions of comedy rather than the two dimensions of farce and whose very passivity and lack of will activate a series of linked mishaps. Leonard is hopeless, inept, fanciful, randy; but also, when the chips and the knickers are down, ruthlessly selfish. It is that fine Chekhovian moral balance that suggests Ayckbourn is never content to repeat a success but is always trying to find ways of making comedy more truthful. He is a pathfinder rather than a comic machine."

(Michael Billington: Alan Ayckbourn, 1990, Palgrave)

"The play reveals the dramatist in what appears to be a gentle vein, Chekhovian in mood and time. Time And Time Again is a comedy of quiet desperation that by its conclusion is neither gentle nor quiet; physical injuries abound as the garden's peaceful calm is shattered. By allowing them to be charmed by Leonard and to side with him against Graham, Ayckbourn is slyly leading his audience up the garden path."
(Albert E. Kalson: Laughter In The Dark, 1991, Associated Universities Press)

"[Time And Time Again] shows Ayckbourn getting more interested in pillorying the manners and social conventions of the middle-classes."
(Oleg Kerensky: The New British Drama, 1977, Hamish Hamilton)

"In much his [Ayckbourn's] best plays so far, the result is rather as if Chekhov had decided to write a burlesque version of Dostoevsky's The Idiot, and the whole thing had been adapted to the middle-class suburbs of some provincial English town."
(J.W. Lambert, Drama, Winter 1972)


"With the increasing emphasis on realistic characterisation, there is in
Time And Time Again a diminishing reliance on the contrivances of mistaken identities, misunderstandings, and plot."
(Susan Rusinko: Upsetting The Balance, Alan Ayckbourn - A Casebook, 1991, Garland Publishing)

"Apart from the usual Ayckbourn suburban mishaps, the real attraction of the play lies in the character of Leonard. Here we have a genuine misfit, as a central character, someone so passive that he even allows himself to be locked out when he discovers his wife with another man. We find him in the play devoid of some of the usual life supports - without wife, three children, and job. And yet Ayckbourn makes Leonard a fascinating character to watch, as he wanders in his desultory way through his sisters home and garden, constantly setting his brother-in-law on edge; and - in his own inimical way - about to fall in love with Joan, the assumed property" of another man, a very muscular other man, reportedly violently jealous. There are enough elements here for standard farce and, in addition, with some very skilful manoeuvring on the author's part, some rare opportunities to search the mind of a hesitant hero, a kind of bumbling Hamlet in oversized cricket flannels."
(Sidney Howard White: Alan Ayckbourn, 1984, Twayne Publishers)

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.

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