Alan Ayckbourn: Man of the Moment

Alan Ayckbourn returns triumphantly to Broadway. Will a great playwright finally get his due?

Dave M. Benett / Getty

Sir Alan Ayckbourn

No theater artist has been sabotaged by praise more cruelly than Alan Ayckbourn. The British playwright was hailed in the 1970s for a string of comedies that, thanks to their abundant laughs and popularity in London's West End, got him dubbed the "British Neil Simon." That wildly inaccurate moniker stuck, even as Ayckbourn's early comedies, like Absurd Person Singular, gave way to increasingly dark and adventurous work — plays that were no longer surefire hits in London and in most cases never even got produced in the U.S.

So there's a bittersweet quality to the new Broadway revival of Ayckbourn's celebrated...

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