Alan Ayckbourn’s praised play Relatively Speaking is witty and packed with intricate structure and content. The style is “classic Ayckbourn” with well spoken English people and lots of overlapping story lines. The story summaries the substantial changes that were shaking British society during the 1960s.
Directing this lite comedy, Robin Herford’s in depth knowledge of Ayckbourn’s definitely shows. The direction is comic, smooth and
For a such a small theatre, they managed to fit in a big set and a revolving stage, transforming the stage from a small flat to a large country manor house. The set, designed by Michael Holt, has an incredible attention to detail, especially the manor house.
The small cast works very well together and the overlapping stories lines are clearly told. Ayckbourn takes the normal English drawing room comedy and brings it outside to the patio, where the characters sit down for a very British cup of tea.
Matt Connor’s performance as the naive Greg has the correct amount of innocence and hopelessly romantic young man. His comic timing is wonderful, and he used the long pauses to his advantage to create some very comical facial expressions. Lianne Harvey takes on the more sexually experienced girlfriend Ginny, who is supposedly going away to visit her parents, but in fact ending the relationship with her ex-boss and lover Philip.
Crispin Letts’ representation of the adulterer and husband Philip is the stock husband in Ayckbourn’s plays – sleazy, comical and magnificent to watch. He even states that he sees his wife as a cost, saying of Sheila at one point: “She costs me 30 quid a week to run and that doesn’t include overheads.” The star of the show definitely has to be Jo Mousley, who’s performance of the unaware and perfect housewife Sheila makes the audience raw with laughter. Scooping up a tremendous amount of laughs with her amazement at the arrival of complete strangers Greg and Ginny, she also hints at the nice middle-class woman who is verging on a nervous breakdown.
A warming and lighthearted production that will leaving you crying with laughter. A definite see!
Relatively Speaking is playing at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre until Saturday Amy 5th, and information and tickets can be bought here.