Confusions: West End Reviews

This page contains extracts from reviews for the original West End production of Confusions.

Daily Express (Herbert Kretzmer)
"No playwright since Coward has the gift of catching this island race with its defences, and sometimes its pants, down."

Daily Mail (Jack Tinker)
"Perhaps only the first play is completely successful, but the cumulative effect of the evening is one of rich entertainment…. It is a tribute to the versatility of the players that the ultimate surprise of the evening is to find only five actors on the stage at the end."

Daily Telegraph (John Barber)
"Although some of Alan Ayckbourn's
Confusions had me helpless with laughter. I found this an unsatisfying evening. The author's observation is sharp, but he declines to penetrate beneath the surface."

Evening Standard (MIlton Shulman)
Note: This review infamously suggests ending the play with Gosforth's Fête rather than A Talk In The Park, effectively missing the point of how Confusions concludes.
"The special delight of these anecdotes is the ease with which we can recognise the characters in them….
Confusions for most of the time is a joyous experience and Alan Strachan's direction neatly integrates the five different pieces. He ought, though, to switch the order of the final two plays and send the audience rollicking with laughter into Shaftesbury Avenue."

Financial Times (B.A. Young)
"He [Alan Ayckbourn] has demonstrated once again that even with a trivial situation he can hold the attention with his matchless ear for conversational speech, and in untrivial situations, show himself a comic writer of immortal quality."

The Guardian (Michael Billington)
Confusions is sad, sharp and funny as if A.G. MacDonell's England Their England had been rewritten by a Chekhovian who knew that conversation is largely a matter of interrupted monologues."

The Listener (John Elsom)
"The sketches are too long for revues, too short and flimsy to be incorporated into full-length plays, and too good to be wasted….. Ayckbourn's off-cuts, however, are worth seeing."

The Observer (Robert Cushman)
"The last
Confusions [A Talk In The Park] is quite Beckettian… this is the kind of thing Mr Ayckbourn does least well, but for most of the evening he is at his best."

Punch (Sheridan Morley)
"That, ultimately, is what the evening is all about; love, pride, family loyalties and social duties are all finally defeated by the over-riding loneliness of Ayckbourn's people. They are a hilariously gloomy lot, and in laughing at them it is almost impossible to shake off feelings of guilt, pity and a terrible familiarity."

The Stage (R.B. Marriott)
Confusions on the whole surveys very well some little worlds and their little people. The aim is entertainment, and it certainly is achieved. Mr Ayckbourn may have no wish at all to penetrate deeper than he does, but the evening would, I am sure, be even more rewarding if the grim and sad things were given their proper place."

Sunday Express (Clive Hirschhorn)
"Though there is always a steady underflow of laughter on hand, this is minor Ayckbourn, and it is left to the excellent cast to provide the sparkle so often absent from the writing."

Sunday Times (Harold Hobson)
"If Mr [Samuel] Beckett still hugs round him some rags of a happier philosophy that he once knew, Alan Ayckbourn has nothing to preserve him from despair but an ingenious brain and immense high spirits. It is these which give Ayckbourn audiences such wonderful evenings, as his
Confusions does at the Apollo."

The Times (Irving Wardle)
"As in the case of
Absent Friends, I remain disheartened by Ayckbourn's increasingly unsympathetic handling of his characters."

All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.