3 October 2016

Relatively Speaking at Richmond Theatre was very funny

I was reluctant to see Relatively Speaking for several reasons; I had seen it not that long ago (June 2013), my diary was rammed and while Ayckbourn plays are funny they are not challenging.

On the other hand, it was on at Richmond (one of my regular theatres), it starred Robert Powell and I knew that it was funny.

In the end that fine balance was swayed by a ticket offer (band A seat for the price of band B) and me having a free evening on a Monday, not normally a theatre day. That was enough for me to go for seat B25 in the Dress Circle for £28.50. A good seat at a good price.

One reason that I was going to Richmond so often was because I was working in Teddington and the helpful 33 bus had me in Richmond by 6:20pm despite me not leaving the office until just before 6pm. I got off at Cresswell Road to enjoy the walk over the bridge. I took a slight detour to walk along the river, past the White Cross, to enjoy those views too. The tide had recently slipped away leaving a damp muddy stain, a profound reminder of its reach.

I had still not found somewhere decent to eat regularly pre-theatre so I went to one of my usual places, The Prince's Head, where I sat at my usual table, drank my usual beer (Oliver's Island) and ate one of my usual meals (Halloumi burger). Not very exciting but it did the job.

The humour in Relatively Speaking, and there was an awful lot of it, came from misunderstandings of the relationships between the two couples that built on each other to make a complicated situation complex.

The first mistake was when the young man thought that his girlfriend was going to visit her parents in the country when she was actually visiting her boss. Most of the action took place in the garden of the older couple's impressive house.

As people's understanding changed of either the true situation or of the role that they were meant to be playing so the actors had to change mood frequently, almost mid-sentence, and they all did so splendidly. It was no surprise that Robert Powell shone as the older man and the rest of the cast were excellent too, including Liza Goddard as his wife. Shamefully the ATG website does not name the actors playing the young couple. The chemistry between the four of them was just right.

Of course the other big name involved was Alan Ayckbourn who knows how to write a comedy. After a minute or two of scene setting we were plunged into the maelstrom of misunderstandings and the laughter came loud and often. It was possibly even funnier the second time around.

Relatively Speaking was very funny and a great way to start the week.

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