As the name Alan Ayckbourn has become
an almost permanent feature on our season
leaflets, it’s only fitting that we delve into the
archives and bring you the play that first put
him on the map to represent the 1970s.
Relatively Speaking follows three couples over
the course of an eventful Sunday. The problem:
there are only four people, not six. We’ve Ginny,
attempting to balance her current boyfriend
and former lover; Greg, Ginny’s boyfriend
who’s determined to meet her parents; Philip,
Ginny’s former lover, attempting to hide it from
his wife; and Sheila, Philip’s befuddled wife.
Cue near misses, miscommunication and all the
staples of an Ayckbourn farce.
Our original 1970 production was praised for
its set and lighting design, the latter for “skilfully”
evoking a “sun-drenched” summer cottage.
Overall, a cast which “plunged straight into the
deep-end of the humour” and the “professional
touch” brought by director Eric Saint, resulted
in a “delightfully constructed farce”.
Ayckbourn had his first West End hit with this
play in 1967 (after debuting in Scarborough in
1965), a production which also launched the
career of Richard Briers. Since then, it’s been
revived numerous times, most recently in 2013
with Felicity Kendall in the role of Sheila. Come
September, you can live the good life too and
enjoy this classic farce with us.