by Zahid Fayyaz
This is the first show in the Jermyn Street Theatre’s Encounters season, and they have certainly started it off on a high note. This is a production of one of Alan Ayckbourn’s first plays from 1965, a comedy and farce set around the misunderstandings between two couples. It begins when Greg, keen to propose to his new girlfriend Ginny, decides to travel down to ask her parents for permission, having gleaned their address from a cigarette packet in Ginny’s flat. However, the couple at the address, Phillip and Sheila, are not Ginny’s parents, but Greg fails to cotton onto this – hence the comedic miscommunications.
The set is wonderful, with the designer managing to evoke a messy, inner city flat in the opening scene, and then switching to a garden in the country within minimal fuss. The acting from the entire cast was uniformly excellent. They put forward the script’s witty and hilarious lines wonderfully. A few of the concepts are a little old fashioned, but the overall humour and good nature of the production overcomes this. The plot isn’t particularly surprising, but then its more about entertaining the audience, which this production does very well.
One of the better small theatres in the West End, the Jermyn Street Theatre has chosen the first show of the season wisely. This is one of the best comedies running in the West End currently, and is definitely worth watching while there are still tickets available.
Relatively Speaking runs through 9 October.