A Trip To Scarborough: Synopsis

Alan Ayckbourn adapted Sheridan‘s A Trip To Scarborough in 1982, despite preferring the more robust drama of Vanbrugh‘s The Relapse. Taking elements of Sheridan‘s play, Ayckbourn weaves in two other plots set during World War II and contemporary Scarborough (originally the 1980s, but updated to the present day for the 2007 revival). All the plots run parallel to each other and all the action is transposed to the foyer of a hotel in Scarborough.

The penniless Tom Fashion arrives at the Royal Hotel in 1800, greeted by the porter Gander and a manager, Pestle (both of whom are present in all the plot-lines, acting as narrators / commentators of sorts). Tom has come to try and con his older and richer brother, Lord Foppington, out of some money. Failing to do this, he impersonates his brother in a bid to seduce an heiress. He manages to successfully woo Miss Hoyden, the daughter of the wealthy Sir Tunbelly Clumsy, and marries her.

In 1942, Scarborough is caught up in World War II. Flight Lieutentant Faversham and his Royal Air Force friends are getting drunk in order to cope with the realities of working as fighter pilots – and their grim prospects of survival. Around this we are introduced to Major Loveless whose wife appears to change during a visit to the Opera House, leading Gander and Pestle to imagine what has happened. A lone woman, Mrs Holland, meanwhile waits for news of her husband, fighting in the war.

In the present day, Holly Tunberry – possibly a descendent of Tom and Miss Hoyden - arrives at the hotel with a copy of the original script of Sheridan‘s
A Trip To Scarborough. Lance Foppington, a southern antique dealer – obviously condescending of anyone from the north - is trying to get hold of the script himself. He manages to under-value the script and buys it from Holly, believing he has a fantastic bargain. Unfortunately, he has underestimated the northern lass as she has sold him something she doesn‘t actually own and has pulled a fast one over him.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.