Life Of Riley: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Life Of Riley is Alan Ayckbourn's 74th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 21 September 2010.
  • The title was originally conceived for an entirely different, unwritten play for which hand-written notes exist, thought to have been written circa 2008. The concept for this play does not match the plot for the play which was eventually written.
  • Life Of Riley is the first play by Alan Ayckbourn to specifically reference himself. The opening scene of the play sees a couple reading the opening scene from his first West End hit Relatively Speaking, which is an unseen play being staged by an amateur company within Life Of Riley.
  • The play is one of many to prominently feature an off-stage character who is never seen (and in this case, never heard). Some of Alan Ayckbourn's most famous off-stage characters include Dick and Lottie Potter from Absurd Person Singular and the mother in The Norman Conquests.
  • Alan Ayckbourn considers the piece to be 'akin' to his play Absent Friends, which centred a round how a group of people and their relationships are affected by a man who had recently lost his fiancee. Life Of Riley is centred on the friends of a dying man and how their lives and relationships are affected by Riley and his actions.
  • It is only the second play by Alan Ayckbourn whose title character does not physically appear in the actual play; the other play is Haunting Julia.
  • Alan Ayckbourn generally avoids short cameos, but the play features a crucial but uncredited short, silent appearance by the daughter Tilly in the final scene of the play.
  • The play features a composite set (several locations on one stage at all times). Other Ayckbourn plays to feature composite sets include How The Other Half Loves, Bedroom Farce, Taking Steps, If I Were You and Private Fears In Public Places.
  • Life Of Riley has been adapted into a French language film, Aimer, Boire et Chanter by the late award-winning director Alain Resnais. It received its world premiere at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival. It was the final film to be made by Alain Resnais.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.