Mr Whatnot: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's Mr Whatnot. If you have a question about this or any other of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, you can contact the website via the Contact Us page.

Is the sound plot for Mr Whatnot available to hire?
No. Although the sound-plot posed a considerable challenge when the play was first written in 1963, it has since become far easier to create with the advent of digital sound and modern sound desks. As a result, there is no pre-existing sound-plot for hire and Alan Ayckbourn's strongly believes each plot should be tailored to the specific company / performance.

Is it true Ronnie Barker based his television character Lord Rustless on Lord Slingsby-Craddock in Mr Whatnot?
Yes, he did. The comedian Ronnie Barker played Slingsby-Craddock in the short-lived West End premiere of
Mr Whatnot. When Barker's second television series, Hark At Barker, was commissioned, it featured at the recurring character of Lord Rustless, which Barker admitted was unashamedly based on Slingsby-Craddock. Indeed, working under a pseudonym, Alan Ayckbourn wrote much of the Rustless material for both series of the show. You can read Ronnie Barker's own account of his experiences with Alan Ayckbourn by clicking here.

Is Mint's silence due to speech impairment or does he just choose not to speak?
This depends on interpretation of the character and any choice is equally valid. The playwright personal believes that Mint just chooses not to speak.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.