ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 49

A gourmet dinner and a good laugh

By Esther Williams

Suspicions, confusions and wild hilarity describe ‘Relatively Speaking,’ a hit West End comedy by Alan Ayckbourn that will be brought to Colombo audiences on May 16 and 17 at the Hilton Colombo Grand Ballroom. Presented by British Theatre Playhouse and directed by John Nolan the production features a cast of British stage talents and television artists.

Producer of the London’s West End Hit, John R.M. Faulkner who was in Colombo recently explains their deliberate choice of the play that has wide ranging appeal. “The universal theme of couples getting muddled up in relationships is highly entertaining,” he says.

The play happens to be significant for Ayckbourn as it established his career as a comedy writer. Currently he is the most successful British playwright having written over 70 plays, over 30 of which have been produced in London’s West End and/or Broadway. “No other playwright has ever achieved this,” Faulkner states.

Relatively Speaking has a convoluted plot of two very different couples Greg (William Rycroft) and Ginny (Marianne Oldham) and- Philip (Jeremy Gittins) and Sheila (Amanda Waldy). Greg and Ginny are living together but Greg is becoming suspicious that he is not the only man in her life: telephone calls that get cut off when he answers, a drawer full of boxes of chocolates and a pair of slippers that are certainly not his nor hers. He wonders about Ginny’s plan to visit her parents and decides to follow her. A series of hilarious misunderstandings ensues.

Of the dinner theatre that is sponsored by SriLankan Airlines, Faulkner who is also the Director of the Singapore based British Theatre Playhouse (BTP) says, “We have identified a niche in the market where people want to bring friends for a good meal and to watch a show that is not too intellectually demanding or requiring too much concentration.”

The duration of the play is one hour and 45 minutes including a 20 minute interval. It would include cocktails, a four-course gourmet dinner – three before the show and dessert and coffee during the interval.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.