Susan is a housewife who, in reality, is neglected by her husband, patronized by her sister-in-law, and estranged from her son. After getting knocked out by stepping on a garden rake, Susan experiences hallucinations. She comes and goes between reality and her own imaginary world where she is happy, successful, and loved by her perfect family. Eventually the real and imagined worlds start to combine into a nightmare. Susan remains on-stage throughout the play, and everything seen and heard on stage is what is seen and heard by Susan, both real and imagined.

As usual with Ayckbourn’s work, this sad situation is also very funny, and this is considered one of his best works.


We encourage actors of all identities and backgrounds to audition.

Susan Gannet; 40s: bitter about real life, happy and lively in imaginary one.  This is a fairly physical role as Susan regularly collapses.

Reverend Gerald Gannet: mid 40s, solemn, more interested in writing his book than his wife.

Muriel, Gerald’s sister: late 40s/early 50s; has suffered and wants everyone to know.

Rick, Susan & Gerald’s son: early 20s -estranged from and embarrassed by his parents.

Bill; A Doctor, late 30s/early 40s, nervous and clumsy.

Susan’s “other” family: an “ideal” family – all tall, good looking, athletic

Andy: early 40s, Susan’s husband -devoted, master cook

Lucy: early 20s, Susan’s daughter: effervescent, shares all her secrets with Susan

Tony: 30s, Susan’s brother, humorous and mischievous


This is set in England in 1980s. There is some flexibility with accents for the “real” family, however they are definitely middle class with some education, so no dropped “h”s etc. but not full-on RP.  The imaginary family on the other hand are rich, upper class and energetic.  For the audition, we’re not expecting a perfect accent – just do your best with what you think the character sounds like.  We’ll work accents during the rehearsals.


Susan is on stage for the whole show so she’s in every side!. We’ll make sure anyone reading that role has time to prepare at the audition.