Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays: Synopsis by Alan AyckbournCast: 6 male / 2 female (one or both of the narrators can be female if required)
Running time (approximate): 1 hour 40 minutes- not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French
Young Suzy and her dog Neville (a sort of pedigree Old English Wolf Boxer) live with her mother in a small cottage. Her father, taking part some years back in an International Balloon Race, never came down again. So with mother the sole breadwinner, their circumstances are somewhat reduced.
Opposite them is a large deserted house with a wild garden where Suzy and Neville love to play - when they're not visiting their friend Mr Passerby, once a famous opera singer but now a council employee in charge of road markings.
Things change when the sinister and mysterious Mr Accousticus buys the house. Birds stop singing, Mr Passerby loses his voice and, most disastrous, Neville loses his bark. Accousticus, it transpires, is a professional 'Sound Stealer'.
Suzy and Neville alone are aware of the danger - her mother having become infatuated with Mr Accousticus's suave charms. While Mr Accousticus and Mother are dining 'a deux' in the cottage, Suzy and Neville resolve to break in to the big house and recover the stolen sounds.
Part Two of the play takes the form of a variable 'search' sequence (hence the title). Suzy and Neville are assisted by the audience in choosing which way to go - in a house built like a labyrinth with nearly 30 locations to choose from (never all visited in the same performance!) in their hunt to find the missing sounds. The 'treasure' can actually be placed randomly and not even the cast need know its location.
Once the sounds have been found, they then have to retrace their steps exactly - again with the audience's help.
The climax occurs when Suzy, Neville and her now voiceless mother are cornered by the evil Accousticus. But thanks to father - a deus ex balloonus - the story ends happily and the family are reunited.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.