By Alan Ayckbourn
29 February - 5 March, 2016
Sasha saves Santa
Chloe is not happy with the new look to the flat
Uncle Val starts buying Sasha a new expensive wardrobe
Charmaine is not impressed with the food or singing
Charmaine gets above herself and starts telling Sasha some home truths, Uncle Val is not happy
The play begins with Sasha helping into her flat an old man, Val, dressed as Father Christmas. He was hit by a car near a children's hospital. Sasha came from Norfolk two months ago to study catering. Val, meanwhile, claims to be retired from the serious crime squad. But the paranoia he has over who ran him over, and the tone of a phone call to his nephew, Frankie, suggests that he is more of a gangster.
When Chloe, Sasha's older half-sister, arrives home, she is horrified that Sasha let a stranger into her house. Sasha is showered with gifts. Chloe’s relationship with her boyfriend is in tatters which creates tension. Who really is Val, Chloe is starting to wonder?,………… much more unfolds creating more twists and turns along with the arrival of Ashley the neighbour from next door who sheds true light on the nature of Val . Enter Charmaine, another colourful character. Is she what she seems?…. Where will this go? Where will the relationship go? A very engaging play with strong characters
In an interview, Ayckbourn calls Sugar Daddies a love story, a cautionary tale.
First performed in 2003 and set in that year in this production, for reasons which will become clear, Sugar Daddies is one of a group of later, darker plays which explores human nature and the tragic sadness that underlies the masks we present to others.
Ayckbourn says his early plays were “more frivolous” though darker, Sugar Daddies still has the hallmark wit and humour - “but,” Ayckbourn says, the audience may not know whether to laugh or cry.
The action takes over a few months from late December, in a second floor London flat. A seemingly naive, young country girl has moved in with her older half-sister and is studying at college.
One evening, she comes to the rescue of a much older man, who has been involved in an accident. A friendship begins.
The five characters skilfully portrayed by my talented cast, dance around each other, come into conflict and don or drop masks, actual and metaphorical.
One character, who appears later in the play, provides the catalyst which draws the play to its conclusion. A desire to do the right thing: a desire to please, drives us all to behave in certain ways to get what we want. The dark and light of human nature is explored and the underlying sadness people hide, revealed.
When I first read the play, I wasn’t sure that I liked it or that there was enough to it but as I worked on it, I grew to love the play as the layers and complexity of the seemingly simple characters were revealed. At a deeper level there are Faustian undertones and each one of the seven deadly sins can be found in one or all of the characters.
There is not a Yorkshire vowel to be heard (we hope!?) - unusual for an Ayckbourn - and thanks must go to our dialect coach – the Norfolk accent being “the hardest one she has ever learned”. Well done everybody but especially Garth who went from his native North East to a very convincing cockney and Julie for her delightful country burr.
Thank you to our set designer for his painstaking work which had many revisions: to lights, sound, wardrobes and particularly props who were involved early on and helped Robin and me source the props and create the effect we wanted. Thank you to the backstage team for the extra work during play week.
I hope you will enjoy the performance as much as I have enjoyed preparing for it and working with the cast and backstage team.