Review: Relatively Speaking, this week at Richmond Theatre
Felicity Kendal and Jonathan Coy in Relatively Speaking, October 1 to 6 at Richmond Theatre
Set in 1965, Relatively Speaking is a riotously funny story about relationships and mistaken identity, writes Rob Edwards
Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious, cringe-inducing comedy of Basil Fawlty proportions now showing at Richmond Theatre will leave you guffawing long after the final curtain.
First opening in 1967, Relatively Speaking raised eyebrows with its depiction of extramarital affairs and premarital sex – taboo subjects that proved a hard pill to swallow for some.
While today the subject matter appears tame, Ayckbourn’s witty word play has failed to lose its intelligent charm, its mockery of middle class morality, nor its ability to keep an audience second-guessing.
The show boasts an outstanding cast of four. Max Bennett (who has appeared in major blockbuster films Anna Karenina, The Sweeney and The Duchess) plays clueless, lovesick Greg. Flighty girlfriend Ginny is played by EastEnders star Kara Tointon.
They are joined by Felicity Kendal as Sheila and Jonathan Coy as Philip. Kendal’s is a household name, celebrated for her role as Barbara Good in the 1975 BBC sitcom The Good Life, while Coy has appeared in the award winning period drama, Downton Abbey.
The first act opens in a scruffy London bedsit where a suspicious Greg and a flustered Ginny argue about meeting her parents. Although the couple have only been together a month, Greg is eager to marry his first love, but knows Ginny is hiding something from him.
To ask for their daughter’s hand and dispel his anxieties, Greg arrives unannounced at Ginny’s family home. The twist? These aren’t Ginny’s parents!
Director Lindsay Posner has reinvigorated Ayckbourn’s classic play, introducing a new generation to the playwright’s uncanny ability to place ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances.
The cast’s razor-sharp comic timing in this ever-thickening plot make Relatively Speaking among the funniest shows you will see this season.
The show runs from October 1 to 6 at Richmond Theatre. Book tickets online at AGT Tickets or call the box office on 0844 871 7651.