Relatively Speaking Review

Salisbury Playhouse – until 28 September 2019

Reviewed by Nicky Wyatt


A fun, frolicking, farce has arrived in Salisbury.

Alan Ayckbourns hilarious play first graced the stage in 1965, fast track almost 50 years and the clever wit and suggestion still has audiences laughing out loud. With a cast of four there is never a dull moment as the audience waits to see when the penny will drop and all will be revealed.

Opening with a bedroom scene and a phone ringing, we meet our young lovers. Under a messy duvet is Greg (Hubert Burton) a young smitten insurance man that is in love with the way more experienced Ginny (Louise Calf). While Ginny is getting ready for a day out , Greg is woken from his slumber by the phone ringing, he answers the phone goes dead. Confused Greg gets himself out of bed and chats to Ginny. The London flat is full of flowers that are arriving daily, he questions her as to where they come from and she creates stories about the local flower seller selling them off cheap, Greg isn’t convinced. Ginny a promiscuous young lady who seems to enjoy all the sixties has to offer is thinking on her feet as the stories trip off her tongue. Young Greg feels threatened by Ginny’s experience and previous relationships especially the one with the older man. She is getting ready for a day visiting to her parents, he wants to go with her and she strongly resists and heads off to the train, unbeknown to her Greg follows.

A swift and seamless scene change take us from a cosy London flat to a country garden where we meet Ginnys ‘parents’ Sheila (Caroline Harker) and husband Philip (Tim McMullan). The chemistry and banter between these two is superb. The timing of their lines mixed with light innuendo and confusion is hilarious. Enjoying a quiet breakfast while trying to second guess what the other is up to, Philip sets off to attack the veg patch. Shortly after Greg arrives looking for Ginny a totally bemused Sheila has no clue who he is looking for but in true British style invites him in, offers a drink and the confusion unfolds leaving the audience holding their sides with laughter. He thinks he is chatting to future in laws, the intricacies of this play are so good. The arrival of Ginny to the garden just adds to it, totally shocked to see Greg at her ‘parents’, when actually it’s the home of her ’older’ man. After dinner conversation will never be the same for these 4 again as the lovely English garden is the setting for the big reveal, a light bulb moment descends in the most funny and clever way.

The sets of this play are perfect along with the fashions just perfect for the era.

Highly recommend this play for a real laugh out loud night out!