Alan Ayckbourn's Constant Companions

We took a sneaky Thursday off work this week, to enjoy the latest Alan Ayckbourn play, at the Old Laundry in Bowness. We always feel that there is something rather special about a weekday matinée!

Ayckbourn's latest offering Constant Companions did not disappoint. The play fairly rattled along and the entire audience was engrossed in the action on stage.

Constant Companions explores one of Ayckbourn's favourite themes: robots and Artificial Intelligence. This has been the subject of quite a few of his recent productions, some with more success than others! This productions seemed to draw together the threads from his other similar plays, and deliver a tight and cohesive exposition of the role AI might play in our lives, in the future.

Through the characters - both human and robot - Ayckbourn delves into the meaning of love and companionship and asks some searching questions. Do we all want a partner who acquiesces to our every demand and never argues? Can AI ever fulfill our needs? Or do normal, messy human relations enrich and empower us? Will robots and AI ever take over from the very essence of being human? Ayckbourn's answer is a clear and unequivocal "no".

The love story of Lorraine, a highly successful 60 year old lawyer, and Jan Sixty, the janitor of her building and an android of indeterminate age, is reprised from Ayckbourn's 2012 play: Surprises. Jan is such a wonderful character, and acted so brilliantly, that I speculated that Ayckbourn wanted to develop his character and let him have another outing.

The acting was superb. The Stephen Joseph Theatre never disappoints. I love their use of the stage.  There were three scenes all on the stage at the same time, but the acting was so crisp and clear that there was absolutely no confusion.

What a fabulous afternoon!