The Therry Dramatic Society has been producing high-quality, popular theatre for 72 years and this production of prolific English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking is no exception.
Directed by Norm Caddick, the sets, lighting and general production are excellent, with the acting competent and entertaining; on opening night, the house was full. Myriad enthusiastic volunteers front and back of house added to the enjoyment.
Relatively Speaking was written in 1965 but this production is set in the early 2000s, with more contemporary clothing but an absence of the technology of 2015. It still has the feel of an old English situational comedy, with misunderstandings of identities producing hilarious results, even if they might be improbable by today’s standards – the characters would have thoroughly investigated each other on Google and social media before venturing forth.
This was no deterrent for the audience, who revelled in the amusement and embarrassment of the characters.
Greg suspects his new partner Ginny is having an affair and follows her secretly to meet her parents, arriving before she does. Ginny is secreting visiting her older lover and boss, Phillip, to end the relationship. Greg mistakes Phillip and his wife Sheila as Ginny parents, while Phillip, who suspects his wife is also having an affair, thinks Greg is Sheila’s lover. Oh, the confusion.
Lee Cook, as Greg, is the standout. He plays the eager-to-please boyfriend to perfection, extracting good laughs from the script and managing to give the play a more contemporary feel. Rachael Horbelt, as Ginny, conveys the sincerity, guilt and secrecy required of someone trying to end one adulterous relationship while preserving a more promising one, while still getting the laughs; it is the most difficult role of the four.
Peter Davies plays the gruff and domineering Phillip with conviction and style, while Rhonda Grill ups the laughs as Phillip’s sweet, naive and confused wife. Or is she?
Therry Dramatic Society’s production of Relatively Speaking is an entertaining evening with great atmosphere.
Watch out for Therry’s three other productions this year: Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl – The Musical (June), James Golman’s The Lion in Winter (August), and Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced (November).
Therry Dramatic Society is presenting Relatively Speaking at the Arts Theatre (Angas Street) until March 28.