Literary Saloon
Site of Review.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

the Best
the Rest
Review Index




to e-mail us:

support the site

buy us books !
Amazon wishlist

In Association with Amazon.com

In association with Amazon.com - UK

In association with Amazon.ca - Canada



the Complete Review
the complete review - drama


Alan Ayckbourn

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase FlatSpin

Title: FlatSpin
Author: Alan Ayckbourn
Genre: Drama
Written: 2001
Length: 96 pages
Availability: in Damsels in Distress - US
in Damsels in Distress - UK
in Damsels in Distress - Canada
  • FlatSpin was first performed 3 July 2001 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in a production directed by Alan Ayckbourn
  • The trilogy Damsels in Distress consists of the plays:

- Return to top of the page -

Our Assessment:

B : far-fetched, fairly amusing

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Daily Telegraph . 9/9/2002 Charles Spencer
The Guardian . 11/9/2001 Michael Billington
The Guardian . 9/9/2002 Michael Billington
The Independent . 12/9/2002 Paul Taylor
The Independent . 15/9/2002 Kate Bassett
New Statesman . 23/9/2002 Sheridan Morley
The Spectator . 14/9/2002 Patrick Carnegy
The Times . 9/9/2002 Benedict Nightingale
TLS . 20/9/2002 Russell Davies

  Review Consensus:

  The weakest of the three plays

  From the Reviews:
  • " The second of the three plays, FlatSpin, (...) is one of the thinnest Ayckbourn has ever written. The plot doesn't add up, and the characters come from reach-me-down Ayckbournian stock. Only the vitality of the playing keeps the piece afloat." - Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

  • "What is this but North by Northwest with Rosie as a female Roger O Thornhill ?" - Michael Billington, The Guardian

  • "(T)he slightest of the three" - Michael Billington, The Guardian

  • "The weakest of the pieces is FlatSpin (.....) There are some very good gags. (...) But the ludicrous "comedy-thriller" plot over-relies on the idea that the secret services are exclusively run by bungling amateurs." - Paul Taylor, The Independent

  • "The protagonist, a forlorn actress whose pursuit of romance thrusts her into the role of dope-dealer, allows Pargeter to be amusingly puckish and flighty; but this is the weakest play" - Benedict Nightingale, The Times

  • "(A) tottering comedy-thriller made of compressed unlikelihoods" - Russell Davies, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

- Return to top of the page -

The complete review's Review:

       In FlatSpin unsuccessful young actress Rosie Seymore is helping out her uncle, the janitor at an apartment complex. He was involved in a car acCident and can't come to work for a few days, so she's filling in for him. The play begins with the managing agent showing her the apartments and explaining her duties. Almost as soon as the agent leaves, a neighbour, Sam, rings at the door, and Rosie doesn't correct a misunderstanding: he thinks she is the actual tenant of the apartment she's in, Joanna Rupelford.
       Rosie, desperate for company and any relief from her many disappointments, even allows Sam to invite her to dinner -- or rather, to come over to make dinner. The set-up lends itself to comedy, as Rosie tries fairly unconvincingly to inhabit Joanna's apartment and life (and wardrobe). Matters get more complicated when a persistent woman tries to get in touch with the tenant of the apartment.
       As it turns out, nobody is quite who they seem -- not even Joanna Rupelford. In fact, Rosie has stumbled into a drug sting operation, and soon enough can't stumble out of it.
       There are fun comical scenes here, and a nice twist or two, but the plot is simply too unbelievable for the play to really have much hold on the reader. This is the lightest of entertainments -- but Ayckbourn is a pro, and there is certainly enough comedy here to entertain. It's not a bad play, but it's almost entirely unremarkable.

- Return to top of the page -


FlatSpin: Reviews: Alan Ayckbourn: Other books by Alan Ayckbourn under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Drama under review

- Return to top of the page -

About the Author:

       British playwright Alan Ayckbourn was born in 1939. He has written more than fifty plays.

- Return to top of the page -

© 2004-2009 the complete review

Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links