Alarms

by Michael Frayn

Alarms had 6 performances almost 8 years ago (between the 8th of March 2014 and the 19th of July 2014) at The Riverhouse Barn, The Leatherhead Theatre and Cecil Hepworth Playhouse

This award-winning production will be performed as part of a Comedy Double Bill together with Riverside Drive in July 2014.

“Alarms” is a very funny one-act comedy which examines how new technology, supposedly intended to enhance it, can add stress to our everyday life. It focuses on our fraught relationship with machines and on our attitudes to technological innovation.

Two couples embark on a planned dinner party which is doomed to failure as, one by one, the resident labour saving devices around the house, and even the furniture, become hostile. Our four protagonists appear to be like flies caught in a spider’s web – the more they struggle, the more helpless they become.

This witty and clever play has challenging dialogue, embroidered with an even more challenging sound effects plot, giving it a pace that is beyond belief (Director says hopefully!). The ensemble cast battle to rise above the cacophony of bells, buzzers, ringtones and alarms. Failure to do so means they may submerge in a sea of audio discord.

The Cast: Two couples. The hosts are Jocasta and John and their guests are Nancy and Nicholas. They describe themselves as “four old chums”.

Casting Notes: The ages for the actors are very flexible, but plausible relationships – age-wise, as co-habiting (not necessarily married) companions and “old friends” – are important. Interestingly, the original production, in 1998, boasted a cast who were actually in their 40’s to mid-50’s, even though the production notes refer to the characters as in their 30 – 40’s. The notes also state that the hosts are 10 years older than their guests. There is nothing to substantiate this in the text, clearly leaving some room for manoeuvre! The answerphone caller’s dialogue suggests that John has a senior position at his workplace, giving his age perhaps a little clarity.

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John - Keith Bollands

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Jocasta - Linda Russell

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Nancy - Paula Foster

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Nicholas - Chris Knights

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Director - Wally Walters

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Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Sound - Mark Humble

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Lighting - Carolyn Menteith

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Voice Over (ansaphone) - Paul Foster

W.Erskin Thomas Rosebowl for Runners Up Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2014
Michael Fishlock Trophy for Best Director Wally Walters Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2014
Runners Up Trophy Leatherhead Drama Festival - 2014