REVIEW: Relatively Speaking at Chichester Festival Theatre

Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in ReIatively Speaking
Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in ReIatively Speaking
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If misunderstandings and mistaken identity are the bread and butter of comedy, then this play is the pudding: a bit stodgy and predictable, but ultimately satisfying.

Lovers are mistaken for fathers and marriage proposals get mixed up in this comedy of errors, which focuses on the lies spun by two individuals who are hiding their affair from their partners.

In this production, the stodge in question was born of too much scene-setting at the beginning; it only really picked up when the entire cast was onstage, and even then the plot became rather apparent rather quickly.

Having said that, this production was lifted by some well-timed comic performances, particularly from Liza Goddard as cuckolded and confused housewife Sheila, whose bemused reactions were the source of many laughs.

The pacing was hampered again slightly by the scene changes, which were carried out during a blackout by the stage crew.

Granted, there were some big set changes – including an impressive spinning house – but for small adjustments like moving plates and glasses, a better alternative would have been to get the cast to move them themselves.

Characteristic of many of Alan Ayckbourn’s plays, the ending had a twist which was worth waiting for.

Focus and a good memory is needed to remember who knows what, but if you can keep up it is an enjoyable night out.

Until November 26.