Incidental Music: History

Incidental Music is Alan Ayckbourn's fifth collaboration on a revue with the composer Paul Todd. It was staged twice during 1983 in slightly different forms at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough.

The original production opened in January and was a full-length revue, which took place in evenings in-the-round at the venue running for two weeks. It was then revived for the summer season in a slightly abridged form as a late-night show in the end-stage Studio space; the performance would take place after the evening's main-house show. The revival ran from July to September and also featured a largely new cast.

In December of the same year,
Incidental Music received its London premiere with a production by the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, to mixed reviews.

Incidental Music has rarely been produced since, although it is available for companies to produce. It has never been published and its most ambitious song, Petra And The Wolves, was incorporated into Alan's next revue, The 7 Deadly Virtues. There is no running plot through Incidental Music, although the majority of songs have a plot of their own.

"More experiments, this time with quite hefty narrative songs with a beginning, middle and end."
Alan Ayckbourn

The Songs of Incidental Music

Opener: A light, numerical introduction to the singing company.
Trio: The story of a female backing-group's take-over bid from the main male singers.
Murder: A whodunit in five minutes flat.
Aunties: Different ages have different problems, but there's always an "agony-aunt" there to help.
Love-Cycle: A version of "La Ronde"
Round of Drinks: Individual parts of conversation at a "drinks party" are heard in isolation, before finally all joining together.*
Much Good: If things were perfect we'd all admire others' generous qualities. However ...
Voices: A love song.
School Friends: A reunion dinner of three lady school-friends that takes on a bitter taste and causes confusion for their three bewildered husbands.
Photocopy Love: A three part harmony song dealing with a doomed office love-affair.
Petra and the Wolves: A mini-operetta following the adventures of young hopeful, Petra, from her home in the forest to the bright lights of London. Her fame and happiness are soon destroyed by the sharks that surround her, and, destitute, she returns to the forest to find true-love with Tom the Woodcutter.
Closer: A light, numerical goodbye from the singing company.

For the Orange Tree's production of the piece, there were several alterations:
Round Of Drinks was replaced by Drinking At Charley's; Fancy Meeting You was added and Closer was omitted.

Round Of Drinks was cut from the summer 1983 revival of the revue at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.