Alan Ayckbourn’s comic brilliance set to lift COVID-19 gloom at St Albans theatre

PUBLISHED: 14:39 21 October 2020 | UPDATED: 19:28 21 October 2020

Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking is coming to the Abbey Theatre in St Albans courtesy of the Company of Ten. Picture: Anne Frizell

Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking is coming to the Abbey Theatre in St Albans courtesy of the Company of Ten. Picture: Anne Frizell

Anne Frizell

Prolific mirth-maker Alan Ayckbourn’s smash-hit play Relatively Speaking is coming to the Abbey Theatre in St Albans, care of the Company of Ten.

Rehearsals for Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Anne FrizellRehearsals for Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Anne Frizell

Exhibiting his usual flare for comedy entanglements and outrageous misunderstandings, the play is considered to be among Ayckbourn’s finest work.

Things get a bit sticky for cohabiting couple Ginny and Greg when mysterious gifts of flowers and chocolates start arriving hourly.

Greg’s suspicions intensify when Ginny tells him she has decided to visit her parents for the weekend without him.

But Greg is not one to be put off, and when he arrives to ask for her hand in marriage the fun really starts.

Company of Ten rehearsals for Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Anne FrizellCompany of Ten rehearsals for Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. Picture: Anne Frizell

Director Angela Stone said: “I’m so pleased to be directing an Ayckbourn comedy.

“The chance to entertain an audience and make them laugh is always a delight, but especially now, when we all need a jolly good laughter more than ever.

“I have form directing Ayckbourn, having previously co-directed his House & Garden for the Company of Ten, which was one of the most rewarding theatrical experiences I have had.

“Now, working on Relatively Speaking, one of Ayckbourn’s early plays and his first West End success, has made me appreciate his excellent craft all the more.

Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking is coming to the Abbey Theatre in St Albans courtesy of the Company of Ten. Picture: Anne FrizellAlan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking is coming to the Abbey Theatre in St Albans courtesy of the Company of Ten. Picture: Anne Frizell

“He was just 26 when he wrote it but, even at such an early age, he showed not only comic brilliance but consummate skill in constructing a complex yet highly satisfying plot.

“Comedic brilliance which, to my mind, is the equal of any of the classic comic writers such as Goldoni, Goldsmith, Sheridan, or Moliere.”

Angela added: “There is a saying, ‘If you remember the Sixties, you weren’t there’. Well I do remember and I was there, so working on a play set in 1963 is great fun, as is introducing our younger cast members to how life was back then when cohabiting was deemed deeply shocking and pre-decimalisation money was a rather complex matter of pennies, farthings, shillings, florins, crowns and pounds.”

This will be an in-theatre and live-streamed production, fully in accordance with present social-distancing and hygiene requirements.

Performances take place on the main stage from Friday, November 6 to Saturday, November 7 at 7.30pm, and on Sunday, November 8 at 2.30pm.

It then runs from Tuesday, November 10 to Saturday, November 14 at 7.30pm.

To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk


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