Season's Greetings: Quotes by Other People

This page includes quotes about the play Season's Greetings by people other than Alan Ayckbourn, predominantly drawn from books and articles about Alan Ayckbourn or British theatre; it does not include quotes from reviews, which can be found in the Reviews pages.

"The problem with adults, in much of Ayckbourn's work, is that they are every bit as greedy, self-obsessed and vindictive as children, and they have the extra ingredient of sexual hunger. Adding mistletoe and booze to this combination is like handing round the matches in a gunpowder shop."
(Paul Allen, Stephen Joseph Theatre Season's Greetings tour programme, 2004)

"What Ayckbourn also pins down about Christmas is that this is the time of year when we are more or less obliged to be 'merry', to spread goodwill and, in theory, to receive it in return; to enjoy the best of the relationships we actually have chosen and to test out new ones in the crucible of family life. Everything could go amazingly right but so often everything goes horribly wrong. In
Season's Greetings every single character will be seduced into high expectations, and the higher they are the greater the disappointment."
(Paul Allen, National Theatre Season's Greetings programme, 2010)

"This is probably the first of his [Ayckbourn's] Christmas plays to deal with personal experience, parodying the cliche that 'Christmas is for children' by presenting the adults as wilful, greedy, selfish and in search of all the usual kinds of instant gratification and in possession of only the tiniest fraction of goodwill to all men."
(Paul Allen, A Pocket Guide To Alan Ayckbourn's Plays, 2004, Faber)

"Given the election of the Thatcherite government the previous year [1980], it may be suggested that - like
Absurd Person Singular - this play anticipates, through these men [Harvey & Bernard], the polarities Ayckbourn perceived as developing in British society between the ineffectively liberal and unpleasantly authoritarian."
(Paul Allen: A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn's Plays, 2004, Faber)

"Thos who regard Ayckbourn as no more than a deft Scarborough farceur will perceive in it [
Season's Greetings] no more than a jolly night out. But anyone who regards Ayckbourn as a master of mood and situation, a dramatist who can balance what Harold Hobson called 'ineradicable sadness' with present laughter, will see in it his most Chekhovian play. Of course, the comparison is flattering: Ayckbourn's characters do not have the memory-penetrating resonance of Chekhov's. But Ayckbourn does here show the great Russian dramatist's ability to mix laughter and tears and to keep you swinging between the two like a pendulum."
(Michael Billington: Alan Ayckbourn, 1990, Palgrave)

"Christmas is a time for children: it is also, Ayckbourn implies in this harshly witty play, a time when adults regress, exposing their wants, fears, needs and frustrations in a manner hushed up at other seasons."
(Michael Billington: Alan Ayckbourn, 1980, Palgrave)

"Their [Ayckbourn's men] problem is, most often, that they feel themselves to be in charge but cannot always cope. Social convention insists that they are the head of the household and yet, try as they might, they seem doomed to be defeated by the bewildering complexity of their lives. Sometimes they retreat into useless hobbies, as Bernard does in
Season's Greetings with his puppet show. But, as usual, it is another object waiting to trap him. His show - surely one of the most hilarious play-within-a-play scenes in all comedy - ends in fiasco."
(Michael Holt: Alan Ayckbourn, 1999, Northcote House)

"Unlike the uproarious Absurd Person Singular, this play [Season's Greetings] is meant to be a love story, something Ayckbourn admits he has been trying to write for a long time. of course, as the plot indicates, this is 'a love story that goes wrong.' All three women (Phyllis, Rachel, and Belinda) yearn for Clive; but Clive being Clive, not much can really happen. His farewell to Rachel earlier sums it up: "Sorry I made such a mess of things. The story of my life. Every time something of value comes along, I -."
(Sidney Howard White: Alan Ayckbourn, 1984, Twayne Publishers)

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.