Alan Ayckbourn's six-hour play The Divide is too long

The Divide, Parts I & II (Kings Theatre, Edinburgh)

Verdict: Far, far too long

Rating:

There’s a lot to like, but much — so much! — more to lament in Alan Ayckbourn’s interminable six-hour epic which was meant to have been the jewel in the crown of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Best known for his suburban farces, 78-year-old Ayckbourn has relaunched himself as a late-onset writer of dystopian fantasy.

His new two-part story recalls Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale and is about a puritanical society 100 years hence where, following a plague, men and women have been segregated.

Heterosexual relations are banned, and citizens are governed by a Biblical tome called the Book of Certitude. The plot focuses on a boy (Jake Davies), who is a talented artist; and his little sister (Erin Doherty), who wants to write like Charlotte Bronte.

The Divide is an extraordinary new work by one of the UK's greatest storytellers, Alan Ayckbourn. Erin Doherty, pictured, plays a little girl living in a puritanical society where men and women have been segregated

The Divide is an extraordinary new work by one of the UK's greatest storytellers, Alan

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