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Monday, 9 March 2020

REVIEW: Relatively Speaking at the Mill at Sonning

The Mill at Sonning certainly seems to know and understand the audiences it serves with a mixed programme of seventies comedies, classic thrillers and a top class Christmas Musical presented in an intimate theatre space after a pleasant buffet of pie, salmon or curry. This season begins with a revival of Alan Ayckbourn's first big hit in 1967, Relatively Speaking.

His phenomenal writing and directing career created many huge theatrical hits of the seventies and eighties which I was fortunate to see on their West End debuts including Absurd Person Singular, Norman Conquests, Bedroom Farce, Sisterly Feeling, Way Upstream, Intimate Exchanges and Chorus of disapproval. However I had missed Relatively Speaking until the sparkling production in the round at Salisbury Playhouse in 2019 with a glorious garden set, so it was fresh in my mind.

The play has all the elements that made his comedies so wonderful. Witty one liners, normal middle class families in crisis and a unique understanding of how to structure theatrical plots to create chaos out of seemingly normal situations. Here the premise is simple a young man Greg, follows his girlfriend of a month, Ginny to her parents’ home to ask for her hand in marriage. What could go wrong?
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