Mon 24th - Sat 29th Feb, 7.30 pm
at the Sherborne Studio Theatre

The trilogy of plays known as 'The Norman Conquests' consists of Round and Round the Garden, Living Together and Table Manners, and the three plays centre on the charming, rakish Norman Dewars and his 'conquests'. The plays were written concurrently; that is to say the Ayckbourn wrote Act I of all three before going on to write Acts II and III in the same way. However, although the action takes place in different parts of the same house and garden, any of the plays can be performed independently of the others. Table Manners is set in the dining room and is undoubtedly the most popular play of the three.

The house is the former family home of Norman's wife Ruth, her brother Reg and their younger sister Annie, who still lives there with their widowed, bedridden mother. Annie has announced that she needs a weekend off and intends going on a short trip, so Reg and his wife, Sarah, have agreed to come and take care of mother for the weekend. But Annie is in fact secretly planning to meet up with Norman for an illicit weekend together, something she has never done before, and is actually rather unsure about. However, contrary to their arrangement, Norman shows up at the house early to collect her, and as a result everybody ends up staying at the house for the entire weekend. The plot hinges on the fact that the characters have differing degrees of understanding about what's actually going on.

The cast of the first London production in 1974 starred Tom Courtenay (Norman), Penelope Keith (Sarah), Felicity Kendal (Annie). Penelope Wilton (Ruth) and Michael Gambon (Tom, Annie's 'boyfriend'). Penelope Keith reprised the role of Sarah in the 1977 Thames Television production, which also starred Tom Conti (Norman), Penelope Wilton (Annie), Richard Briars (Reg) and David Troughton(Tom).

Auditions 11th & 13th November

There are no specified age ranges for any of the characters in the play but Norman and Ruth should be roughly the same age as should Reg and Sarah.

A bearded, off-the-wall, free spirit. An unconventional assistant-librarian. He has a reputation for causing trouble (hotly denied), though the problems he causes are never the result of malice. He sees people's weaknesses and plays on them. He is a great joker. However, he can be charming, witty and sensitive.

Norman's wife. Her business career takes precedence over everything else. She is very short-sighted (she refuses to wear her glasses), but she has genuine affection for Norman and the rest of the family. When pushed too far, her temper can flare, manifesting itself in flashes of sarcastic, caustic wit.

Ruth's estate agent brother. Temperamentally, he is the opposite of Ruth. Very laid back, he takes life lightly, believing himself to be a tolerant man-of-the-world, making jokes to cover the fact that he appears to be under the thumb of his wife Sarah.

Reg's critical and generally disapproving wife. She is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown and her desire to take control of every situation inevitably leads to the opposite. Despite appearing overbearing, she is very vulnerable and is frequently reduced to floods of tears.

She is the younger put-upon sister of Reg and Ruth. Although she does try to make herself attractive, she is the type who doesn't think it's worth the effort. She is growing tired of her mundane life and is waiting for someone to come along and take her away from it.

Annie's neighbour. He is vet and while being totally sympathetic to animals has difficulty in communicating with humans. He is charming and polite, but dull and dim.