A Chorus Of Disapproval: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus Of Disapproval.
  • A Chorus Of Disapproval is Alan Ayckbourn's 31st play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 2 May 1984.
  • The London premiere was held in The Olivier at the National Theatre on 1 August 1985. It was also revived in the West End in 2012, directed by Trevor Nunn.
  • The play is centred around Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society (PALOS) staging John Gay's The Beggar's Opera - scenes of which are performed within A Chorus Of Disapproval. Alan originally intended to use scenes from Rudolf Friml's The Vagabond King, but his estate would not give Alan permission to use the play.
  • It was the first play Alan Ayckbourn wrote on a word-processor. The Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York possesses the first act of the play, hand-written in pencil on foolscap paper (as he had always written) but the second act was written on his new word-processor marking the end of Alan writing his scripts by hand.
  • The play is one of the few Ayckbourn plays definably set in Yorkshire - this is despite the fact the play is based in Pendon, which Alan has traditionally located in the London commuter belt, probably near Reading. However, the playwright notes Pendon is a unique town that occasionally can switch geographic locations(!) and that for A Chorus Of Disapproval, it moved to the north of England.
  • It is one of several plays which Alan Ayckbourn sets in his fictional town of Pendon (see note above). Other notable plays set in Pendon include Relatively Speaking, Ten Times Table, Sisterly Feelings and Improbable Fiction.
  • The original London production of A Chorus Of Disapproval featured Michael Gambon (the most prolific Ayckbourn actor in the West End) as Dafydd ap Llewellyn and Bob Peck as Guy Jones. This was a reuniting of Alan Ayckbourn and Bob Peck as Alan had 'discovered' Bob in Leeds at the very start of the actor's career and had directed him in amateur productions in Leeds, on radio for the BBC and then in the Scarborough company at the Library Theatre where he also appeared in the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Family Circles.
  • A Chorus Of Disapproval is the only Ayckbourn play to have a 'sequel' featuring some of the characters from the original play. Following the tragic death of Colin Blakely (who played Dafydd in the West End transfer of the National Theatre's production), a memorial evening was organised. Alan contributed a one act play An Evening With PALOS which featured a number of the company from the National Theatre's production with David Jason playing Dafydd.
  • A Chorus Of Disapproval became the first Ayckbourn play to be adapted into a film. Michael Winner directed the movie which cut half of Alan Ayckbourn's original script, reduced the running time by more than 45 minutes and reinterpreted it as a farcical British sex-comedy. Needless to say, Alan Ayckbourn wasn't impressed by it nor does it accurately reflect the original play.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.