by Alan Ayckbourn
Director: Philippa Dwyer
Previews 8 July 2022
Opening 9 July 2022 and Performs 15,16,22,23,29 and 30 July 2022
Matinee Saturday 16 July 2022
Relatively Speaking had its world premiere in Scarborough in 1965. The London production in 1967 at the Duke of York’s Theatre was Alan Ayckbourn’s first London West End hit.
The play opens in the flat of Greg and Ginny, a young co-habiting couple, Ginny being the more sexually experienced. Greg finds a strange pair of slippers under the bed and is too besotted to believe they might have been left by another man (which would also explain the bunches of flowers and boxes of sweets filling Ginny’s apartment). Ginny goes off for a day in the country, supposedly to visit her parents but actually to break things off with her older married lover, Philip. Greg decides to follow her.
The next scene is on the patio at the home of Philip and his befuddled wife Sheila, whose marriage is clearly under strain. Greg shows up unannounced before Ginny, and wrongly assumes that they are her parents. Greg asks for her hand from Philip, while Philip mistakenly believes that the strange young man is asking permission to marry Sheila. Once Ginny arrives, she convinces Philip to play the role of her father. Meanwhile, Greg still believes that Sheila is Ginny’s mother. The situation becomes increasingly complicated and hilarious.
Although it is basically a comedy of misunderstandings and mistaken identity, as plays of this genre go it has a slightly dark streak.