REVIEW: Relatively Speaking; Coliseum, Oldham

Jo Mousley in the role of Sheila, a woman who isn't quite what she seems to be. (s)
Jo Mousley in the role of Sheila, a woman who isn't quite what she seems to be. (s)
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Relatively Speaking is prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn's first great success.

First produced on the London stage in 1967, it was a great hit and has remained so ever since.

Although set in a very different era, it has lost none of its humour and charm.

It is a very well constructed play with countless amusing twists and turns.

Ayckbourn has an unerring ear for dialogue and witty lines.

It is hard to say much about the plot without giving away too much.

It opens with Ginny (Lianne Harvey) and Greg (Mat Connor) lovers, waking up in her flat and discussing their relationship.

He wants to marry her, she is less certain.

She has clearly had more experience in relationships than he has.

She is off to visit her parents in the country.

Another couple Sheila (Jo Mousely) and Philip (Crispin Letts) become involved but they are not who they seem to be.

The excellent cast bring out every nuance and barb of the script.

Michael Holt's clever design transports us from a poky London flat to a spacious rural garden with a simple rotation of the set.

Robin Herford, the director, has had a long association with Ayckbourn, having worked with him in Scarborough for thirteen years and ending up as artistic director of his theatre.

This is a very enjoyable drama with lots of laughs and runs until tomorrow.

The Coliseum's next production is Shelagh Delaney's ground-breaking play, A Taste of Honey, written when she was still a teenager.