THEATER: Farce Person Singular

A U.S. premiere in Chicago of Communicating Doors, his 46th play, shows British wit Alan Ayckbourn in vintage form

The central device in Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors is a portal between hotel suites that carries women who step through it either 20 years forward or 20 years back in time. This idea may seem offbeat even for a farce, but it is not surprising from a man whose nearly 50 other plays involve such tricks as a robot spouse used in a child-custody battle; audience choices that provide a script with 16 endings; and a three-story house seen on one level (with actors tiptoeing up and down -- that is, back and forth -- along imaginary stairs). "Games are fun,"...

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