Standing Room Only: Quotes by Other People

This page includes quotes about the play Standing Room Only 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.

"It [Standing Room Only] is a simple, cheerful, friendly play that takes an Absurdist situation of a society that has ground to a halt (later used not only by Peter Nichols [in The Freeway] but also by Jean-Luc Godard in his film Weekend) and shows how the urge to carry on the race continues."
(Michael Billington: Modern Dramatists - Alan Ayckbourn, 1983, Macmillan)

"[Standing Room Only] is a hymn to human adaptability and the survival of the nuclear family against insuperable odds."
(Michael Billington: Modern Dramatists - Alan Ayckbourn, 1983, Macmillan)

"Ayckbourn is once again focused on family relationships, with an essentially optimistic sense that stranded humanity will survive come what may. They will not, it is true, be living in perfect harmony, for even though it has an Absurdist situation as the basis for the plot, the play explores a theme that was to be revisited in a number of later plays. The menfolk breeze through the compound difficulties of the baby's delivery with a feigned normality that shrugs off the emotional discomfort of all around them. They take refuge from it by concentrating on the mechanics of everyday life, such as secret codes on the bus's bell and systems to pass buckets of hot water for the baby's delivery."
(Michael Holt: Alan Ayckbourn, 1999, Northcote House)

"
Standing Room Only, a comedy envisaging the situation when London traffic has finally become immobilised in one vast immovable traffic jam, showed more than promise, if still less than complete achievement (the same might be said of his later West End comedy success, Relatively Speaking)."
(John Russell Taylor: Anger And After (second edition), 1969, Methuen)

"[
Standing Room Only] undeniably has overtones of Theatre of the Absurd.... The action of the play takes place on a double-decker stuck in Shaftesbury Avenue, and it retails a few hours* in the lives of five characters who have taken residence in it with considerable comic adroitness if at times some slight slight sense of strain at spinning out one joke quite so far. On the other hand, it already suggests Ayckbourn's particular speciality, the comedy of embarrassment, with its characters trying Desperately to continue living normal, respectable, suburban lives in these very eccentric, public conditions."
(John Russell Taylor: The Second Wave, 1971, Methuen)

"The last of the Roland Allen plays,
Standing Room Only (1961), is an ingenious comedy with interesting overtones of the theater of the absurd."
(Sidney Howard White: Alan Ayckbourn, 1984, Twayne Publishers)

"Ayckbourn's real talents as a writer began to show themselves in the very clever
Standing Room Only (1961).... The premise opens up a number of good comedy possibilities which Ayckbourn handles with ingenuity and imagination."
(Sidney Howard White: Alan Ayckbourn, 1984, Twayne Publishers)

* The play's plot actually plays out over several months.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.