A time travelling comedy by Alan Ayckbourn will open the autumn season at The Abbey Theatre next week.

Communicating Doors, by the knighted English playwright and director, follows three women who have urgent business in a London hotel suite.

One of them has narrowly escaped being murdered, one is about to be murdered, and the other was murdered two decades before.

In this hotel instead of connecting to the next-door room, this door leads to the same suite in another year. It is in this way that scenes bounce between 1998, 2018 and 2038.

He adds: “Apparently he got his inspiration for Communicating Doors, partly from watching the film Psycho, which is full of frightening surprises, and partly from the ingenuity of JB Priestley’s Time Plays, which examine the repercussions of things said and actions taken, and leave you thinking, what if.”

In the year 2038, Reece, a dying businessman, hires a dominatrix, Poopay. When she arrives at his hotel suite, she discovers that he does not require her rather special services, but wants her to witness a written confession that he murdered both his first and second wives, or rather, that he got his sinister associate, Julian, to do it for him.

When Reece collapses suddenly, and Poopay fears that she may be Julian’s next victim, she runs through a connecting door into the year 2018, which is inhabited by Reece’s doomed second wife Ruella. When Ruella learns about the confession and uses the door herself, she lands up in 1998, where Reece and his first wife, Jessica, are on their honeymoon.

From this point, the women unite to change the course of history and avoid their grisly fate, this gives way to unusual comical scenarios of the women desperately trying to avoid a grave death.

Director Roger Scales says he is in awe of “the sheer inventiveness of Alan Ayckbourn’s imagination.”

Abbey Theatre Trust, Westminster Lodge, Holywell Hill, St Albans, AL1 2DL, dates from Friday, September 15 to Saturday, September 23. Details: 01727 857861