Grove Park Theatre
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Mr Whatnot

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Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious tribute to silent films

‘…still manages to leave you helpless with laughter much of the time.’ – Patrick Marmion, Mail Online

From Alan Ayckbourn, the writer of other well-known comedies like Bedroom Farce and Season’s Greetings. Mr Whatnot is one of his earliest plays and remains little known. It was first produced in Stoke-on- Trent in 1963 and in an interview at the time Ayckbourn said: ‘”It has no message, no claims to anything deep or mysterious. The people in it do exist – just buy a copy of The Tatler and you’ll see where I pinched the dialogue from”.

He wanted the audience to just laugh and enjoy the silly exploits of Mr Whatnot, who blunders into this play with his own style of intelligent “goonery”.

Mint the piano tuner is summoned to the stately home of the Slingsby-Craddock’s, a family of upper-class caricatures. He falls head over heels for Amanda, the daughter of the house, and proceeds to cause havoc to try to win her over. He infiltrates a tennis match, a formal dinner and finally the family’s bedrooms, all the while never uttering a word.

A very funny and very silly play that will have you laughing out loud and wondering just how it is possible that a cast of actors can do so much with so little.