Relatively Speaking

ALISON CROOSE West Acre River Studios


> West Acre River Studios

Alan Ayckbourn is the ultimate master of his craft, and work by a writer so skilled and revered deserves superlative treatment. River Studios, take your bow.

It is 30 years since Ayckbourn was asked to write a play “which would make people laugh when their holidays were spoiled by the rain”. Well, it worked just as well on a wet, winter's night deep in the Norfolk countryside.

This has to be one of Ayckbourn's most ingenious and funniest plays, brimming with misunderstandings and mistaken identities. Boldly staged in the round to maximise audience potential this was handled masterfully by director Andy Naylor.

The script has more twists and turns than a long series of hairpin bends – and many of the laughs came from the audience's anticipation of the next bombshell to rock the thoroughly confused characters.

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Four excellent actors – Simon Wakefield, Karen Bates, Clive Hadfield and Irma Fowler – gave outstanding performances in a play relying on perfect comic timing.

From their guileless innocence to the darker humour they impressed in portraying an impossibly complex situation.