Review: Complexity and comedy from Ayckbourn favourite on stage

Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in Relatively SpeakingRobert Powell and Liza Goddard in Relatively Speaking
Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in Relatively Speaking
Nicola Brooks reviews Relatively Speaking at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Written in the 1960s, Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn demonstrates that a good comedy stands the test of time.

The opening scene is set in London where Greg played by Antony Eden, wakes up in the flat of his girlfriend Ginny, played by Lindsey Campbell. As the two young lovers prepare for the day ahead, Greg becomes increasingly suspicious about her behaviour. The phone rings; he picks it up; the caller hangs up; he finds flowers all over the flat even in the bath and finally slippers under the bed. The plot unfolds as the increasing jealous Greg decides secretly to follow Ginny to her family home where she has told him she will be spending the day.

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This light-hearted comedy proceeds at a fast pace with a polished performance from Robert Powell (Phil) and Liza Goddard who plays his wife Sheila. Powell’s comic timing makes even the smallest comment draw laughter from the audience. Goddard portrays the role of the scatty wife in a cleverly understated way.

Antony Eden makes a convincing Greg, the rather naive young man who is caught up in a series of events which become increasing confusing to him. The portrayal of Ginny however is somewhat lacking in the more feisty characteristics of what an audience might expect from a liberated young woman of the 1960s.

The play itself is full of hilarious moments when the audience explodes with laughter. With some wonderful sets it provides an amusing observation about the complexity of relationships between men and women.

* Relatively Speaking runs until tomorrow (Saturday). Visit or call 024 7655 3055 to book.