Wildest Dreams: London Premiere Reviews

Wildest Dreams was the first Ayckbourn play to be performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The RSC presented its first London production in The Pit at the Barbican in 1993. This page presents extracts from some of the major reviews of the London premiere of the play.

Daily Mail
"His [Ayckbourn's] most darlingly dark and disturbing play to date. The RSC is to be congratulated for recognising it as what it is: a truly magnificent piece of new writing."

Financial Times (Alastair Macaulay)
"This shared fantasy [the board game the characters play] is one of Ayckbourn's most wonderful comic constructions: ludicrous but dreadfully credible. And Marcie herself is another of his master-strokes. She really is an alien: and we never understand her. But her four friends we quickly understand only too well; and some of Ayckbourn's finest writing goes into entering their unhappy private worlds."

The Guardian (Michael Billington)
"What makes this such a disturbing and arresting comedy is that Ayckbourn suggests there are no rules for human behaviour: some people need fantasy, others can survive reality."

The Independent (Paul Taylor)
Wildest Dreams is frequently very funny and the author's new, attractively cast RSC production is all the better for creating a less reassuring interplay between the high-class sitcom and the underlying destruction."

Mail On Sunday (Louise Doughty)
"With this play, Ayckbourn proves again that he is an adept dissector of social mores, a surgeon who lays flat the credibility of people's lives on the examination table of the stage."

The Stage (Peter Hepple)
"As always, Ayckbourn's achievement lies in his ability to convey the inadequacy and disappointment of most human lives and the tendency towards obsessiveness which afflicts so many of us.... The comedy that punctuates the evening [is] as necessary as the laughs in any good horror film."

Sunday Express (Clive Hirschorn)
"If the plays of Alan Ayckbourn get any darker, you're going to have to bring a torch into the theatre to navigate your way around his disturbing and gloom-strewn imagination.... While the humour may be curdled, the laughs are there."

Sunday Telegraph (John Gross)
"Individual scenes in
Wildest Dreams are as good as anything Ayckbourn has written (or rather, since he has written so much, than anything by him I've seen).... There is also any number of excellent touches - funny, macabre, sad. But the play as a whole would benefit from slimming down."

Sunday Times
"This must be one of the most harrowing comedies in the English language.... As usual, Ayckbourn's writing seems causal, almost throwaway. In fact, he writers with the utmost economy.... This is a must."

The Times (Benedict Nightingale)
"Ayckbourn has always take delight in giving serious situations a slant that renders them comic. But now he seems ready to wipe the smiles right off our collective faces.... What a talent this, his 42nd play, shows him still to be."

Today (Bill Hagerty)
"This is Ayckbourn at his sharpest and most unpredictable; not at all the familiar observations of familiar middle-class families which have amused and sometimes bemused us through many of his 46 plays. What's more, it is funnier and more intriguing than anything he has written in a long time."

All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.