2 July 2013

Relatively Speaking at Wyndham's Theatre (very funny)

I love the theatre but generally find West End prices not justified by the performances so I am grateful to be able to go to some of the shows that appeal through work's social club where I can get discounted tickets.

And so I found myself in one of the front rows of the stalls for a revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking, which in 1967 was his first hit.

The play's premise is simple but quickly opens up the way to much confusion and complexity.

The young woman is the only person who knows what is going on. Her current boy friend wants to marry her but first she has to clear an older married man out of her life. She heads to his house in the commuter belt telling her boyfriend that she is off to see her parents. He follows, manages to get there first and the confusion begins.

Along the way this includes the husband thinking that the young man is his wife's lover and the young man thinking that the wife has disowned his girlfriend because she was illegitimate.

It gets much more complicated than that and every line either twists the situation unexpectedly or produces a laugh-out-loud punchline.

The acting was wonderful and all four characters were utterly delightful. A lot of the comedy rode on the young man's innocence of the situation and he carried his naivety brilliantly.The young woman was reassured and in control while the older man was confused and on the verge of loosing it. The one known star, Felicity Kendall, was calm among the chaos and did not let all the supposed and suspected relationships get in the way of her orderly Sunday in the garden.

Alan Ayckbourn's plays entertain through humour and this one was an undoubted success with the audience, myself included, laughing uncontrollably throughout. This is a good solid farce that is well crafted and well delivered.

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