Comedy by Alan Ayckbourn. Greg only met Ginny a month ago but has already made up his mind that she's the girl for him. When she tells him that she's going to visit her parents, he decides this is the moment to ask her father for his daughter's hand. Discovering a scribbled address, he follows her to Buckinghamshire where he finds Philip and Sheila enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning breakfast in the garden. The only thing is... they're not actually Ginny's parents.
Alan Ayckbourn's West End plays include Absurd Person Singular, Absent Friends, The Norman Conquests, Communicating Doors, Woman in Mind, How The Other Half Loves, A Chorus of Disapproval, Bedroom Farce, The Divide, Damsels in Distress Trilogy: RolePlay, FlatSpin, and GamePlan, and Things We Do for Love. Alan Ayckbourn also provided lyrics to the Andrew Lloyd Webber's P G Wodehouse musical By Jeeves, and Roger Glossop's children's show of Beatrix Potter's Where is Peter Rabbit?
Original London West End Production with Celia Johnson in 1967
Opened 29 March 1967, Closed 3 February 1968 at the Duke Of York's Theatre in London
The original West End cast featured Celia Johnson as 'Sheila' (Judy Campbell from Monday 18 September 1967), Michael Hordern as 'Philip', Jennifer Hilary as 'Virginia' and Richard Briers as 'Greg'.
The cast from Monday 16 November 1967 featured Judy Campbell as 'Sheila', Philip Guard as 'Greg', Polly Adams as 'Virginia' and Colin Gordon as 'Philip'.
Directed by Nigel Patrick with designs by Hutchinson Scott and lighting by Michael Northern.
1st London West End Revival with Felicity Kendal in 2013
Previewed 14 May 2013, Opened 16 May 2013, Closed 31 August 2013 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
The cast features Felicity Kendal as 'Sheila', Jonathan Coy as 'Philip', Kara Tointon as 'Ginny' and Max Bennett as 'Greg'. Directed by Lindsay Posner with designs by Peter McIntosh, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Matt McKenzie.
"When it opened in 1967, Alan Ayckbourn's comedy was considered rather shocking due to its openness about sex. In its first West End revival since then... this comedy of crosspurposes is wittily sustained, with the farcical carry-on threatening to give way to a dark streak that gives the play a bitter edge. Jonathan Coy is excellent as the bullying Philip, but the stand-out performance is from Felicity Kendal, who plays the bewildered wife Sheila, a woman teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown." The Sunday Mirror
"While it is most definitely a period piece, both its superb construction and its ingenious plotting have a timeless indestructibility. Moreover, its subject - betrayal and the harm and near madness it can provoke in both the betrayer and the betrayed - remains as piercing as ever... Alan Ayckbourn keeps tugging at every increasingly fraught but always taut thread, and his skill is matched by that of this cast, who are not just wonderfully real and believable, but also have miraculous comic timing. Kendal is at her very best, her veneer of chipmunkish charm chipping to reveal acres of loneliness, and Jonathan Coy's bully blusters brilliantly until he's almost blue in the face. There's a touch of Frank Spencer in Max Bennett's gormless but engaging Greg, and Kara Tointon's sharp little Ginny, who has form throwing slippers as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, hits the spot like a strong gin and tonic." The Mail on Sunday
"Lindsay Posner's revival is staged with such professionalism, fidelity and flair that it is all but impossible not to be won over by its timeless virtues... Felicity Kendal understands very well that the funniest comedy always seems to be tightrope walk across an abyss of tragedy and despair. In some of her funniest scenes in the piece, this splendid actress seems painfully close to breaking down into tears. 'Surely half the fun of having an affair is keeping it a secret,' her boorish husband tells her over breakfast. She replies, with a look of injured pride on her face and the merest hint of a catch in her throat: 'Maybe for you'. This is still an ensemble piece and in this production it has not a single weak link. Jonathan Coy makes a great job of the pompous but compromised Philip, and Max Bennett - the one innocent in the sorry tale - bounds about the place like a loveable Labrador with an almost constant look of shock etched upon his face. Kara Tointon, for her part, gives an intelligently nuanced performance as the beautiful, but profoundly flawed Ginny." The Sunday Telegraph
"This cracking new production under Lindsay Posner's expert direction... is situation comedy in the precise sense: not witty one-liners but the comedy of absurd situations, doomed to get worse because of the way people handle them. You can only watch and wonder as Alan Ayckbourn, with a master's hands, proceeds to build his superb structure... It may be ungallant to point out that Felicity Kendal is slightly too old for the role of Sheila: she should be about mid-forties, I think, whereas Ms Kendal is just starting to look in her early fifties now. Then again, this is true of Jonathan Coy as Philip, too. It's a minor point for two such superlative performances... It remains an immaculate farce that, nearly 50 years later, is still as funny as ever, and it has the hallmark of any true classic: it's both very much of its time and timeless. A good night out for all." The Sunday Times
Felicity Kendal's recent West End theatre credits include George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession directed by Michael Rudman (Harold Pinter Theatre 2010), Simon Gray's The Last Cigarette directed by Richard Eyre (Trafalgar Studios 2009), Noel Coward's The Vortex directed by Sir Peter Hall (Apollo Theatre 2008), David Hare's Amy's View directed by Peter Hall (Garrick Theatre 2006) and Georges Feydeau's Mind Millie For Me directed by Peter Hall (Haymarket Theatre 1996.
Jonathan Coy's London theatre credits include Michael Frayn's Noises Off with Janie Dee and Celia Imrie and directed by Lindsay Posner (Old Vic Theatre 2011, transferred Novello Theatre 2012) and Michael Frayn's Donkeys' Years with David Haig and Janie Dee and directed by Jeremy Sams (Harold Pinter Theatre 2006).
Kara Tointon made her West End theatre debut as 'Eliza Dolittle' opposite Rupert Everett as 'Professor Higgins' in Philip Prowse's revival of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion (Garrick Theatre 2010). She is best known for playing 'Dawn Swann' in BBC TV's EastEnders and for winning the BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
Lindsay Posner's most recent London theatre directing credit is for Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy starring Henry Goodman (Old Vic Theatre 2013). His other credits include Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya starring Ken Stott, Anna Friel and Samuel West (Vaudeville Theatre 2012), Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party starring Jill Halfpenny (Wyndham's Theatre 2012), Simon Gray's Butley starring Dominic West (Duchess Theatre 2011), Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband starring Alexander Hanson, Rachael Stirling, Samantha Bond and Elliot Cowan (Vaudeville Theatre 2010), Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge starring Ken Stott and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Duke of York's Theatre 2009), Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel starring Jeremiah James, Alexandra Silber and Lesley Garrett (Savoy Theatre 2008), Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick musical Fiddler On The Roof starring Henry Goodman as 'Teyve' (Savoy Theatre 2007), Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party starring Eileen Atkins and Henry Goodman (Duchess Theatre 2005), David Mamet's A Life in The Theatre starring Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson (Apollo Theatre 2005), Sam Shepard's Fool for Love starring Juliette Lewis and Martin Henderson (Apollo Theatre 2006) and David Mamet's Oleanna starring Aaron Eckhart and Julia Stiles (Garrick Theatrel 2004).
Relatively Speaking in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 14 May 2013, opened on 16 May 2013 and closed on 31 August 2013.