The Square Cat: World Premiere ReviewsThis page contains all the reviews held in archive of the world premiere production of Alan Ayckbourn's The Square Cat at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in July 1959. All reviews on this page are the copyright of the respective publication and / or author and should not be reproduced.
Square Cat In The Round
Few people who attended the first performance yesterday evening of a new play, The Square Cat, being presented for a week by Studio Theatre in the Library Theatre realised that the hero of this farcical comedy, 20-year-old Alan Ayckbourn is also its author.
Writing under the pen-name of Roland Allen, he puts onto the stage the double personality of a national heart-throb of rock 'n' roll, one Jerry Wattis, whose effect on women is to reduce them to a drooling sighing army of worshippers. One in particular, a married woman, has one ambition - to dance with Jerry Wattis. She invites him to a borrowed mansion, but her husband and son discover her plan, and the result is a fine amusing comedy, during which a bout of rock 'n' roll by Alan Ayckbourn and Dona Martyn yesterday earned them a round of applause from an appreciative audience.
Alan Ayckbourn, who learned to play the guitar for the occasion, although he does not play it for any length of time, gives his best performance of the season. Dona Martyn backs him up with first-class acting, and, although a rather aged-looking schoolboy, William Elmhirst is a tonic as Dona Martyn's son. In a performance which was a little too ponderous and over-played, David Campton at least looked the part of the middle-aged husband, and certainly had the audience laughing. Also in the play is Faynia Jeffery.
In a programme note, Stephen Joseph, director of Studio Theatre, writes: "Sometimes we begin to think that our welfare depends on bad weather." He says that the plays selected for the season were chosen not because they are assured "successful" plays which have already been shown In the West End, but because they are "good plays." "We have deliberately set out to provide in Scarborough plays that are well worth seeing…. The only way this company can continue to operate is with the support of the audiences."
(Scarborough Evening News, 31 July 1959)
Big Beat In The Round
Twenty-year old Alan Ayckbourn puts the big beat into Studio Theatre's new production, The Square Cat at Scarborough's Library Theatre, in more ways than one. He wrote it, has the leading part and learned to play guitar for his part as a rock 'n' roll idol chased by a married woman. He gives his best performance of the season in this lively, and extremely amusing off-beat foot tapping comedy. While rock still tops the pops London might well be interested in this bright little play from the provinces.
Comedy centres on the situation which arises when rock star Jerry Wattis is invited to a borrowed mansion for a clandestine dance with a married woman, and her husband and son discover the plan. Mr. Ayckbourn plays a little guitar during sequences, and dances a rock number called The Riddle with Dona Martyn, whose acting is first class. The pair are well backed up by William Elmhirst's rather aged laughter-raising schoolboy, David Campton's middle-aged husband, and Faynia Jeffery as the daughter.
As if to disprove the theory, The Square Cat fits into theatre in the round the way Mr. Ayckbourn intended it to do - smoothly and well.
(The Stage, 15 August 1959)
All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.