Athlone Little Theatre reverts to the 1960s for its first production of the new year, a hilarious comedy where misunderstanding and confusion reigns in Alan Ayckbourn's 'Relatively Speaking'.
Directed by Joe MacCarrick, the productionwill grace the stage of the intimate venue from February 21-28.
This is the play that made Ayckbourn's name and gave him his first West End hit in 1967, two years after it first premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough on July 8, 1965, with the title 'Meet My Father'.
Widely considered a masterpiece of comic construction, 'Relatively Speaking' tells the story of two couples, the younger Ginny and Greg; and the more middle-aged Philip and Sheila, who find themselves embroiled in a comedy of mistaken identities and confusion as a pair of slippers takes on a hugely important part of this hilarious tale.
A besotted but slightly dim Greg, played by the experienced Ronan Flynn, who is no stranger to local audiences, has decided Ginny, Leona Burke, one of three Athlone Little Theatre newcomers in this play showing impressive comic timing, is the one for him and wants to marry her, but he is becoming somewhat suspicious that he is not the only man in her life.
Greg wonders about Ginny's plan 'to visit her parents' and decides to follow her to the English countryside.
However, Ginny is really going to see a considerably older lover Philip, played with aplomb by another newcomer to Athlone, Brian Foy, but only in order to break with him.
Greg mistakes the ex-lover and his wife Sheila (an impressive turn from Katherine Wheatley ) for Ginny's parents. Ginny's arrival further compounds an already wildly hilarious situation.
Joe MacCarrick is the director of this hilariously, funny play that helped launch Ayckbourn's career, and is a actually a fascinating satire of middle-class life and manners that will certainly brighten up the dark nights of February.
He is ably assisted backstage by stage manager Michael McGlone, assistant stage manager, Sinead Waterstone, and a stage crew of Conor O'Driscoll, Helene Lepaon, Mathias O'Neill, Saoirse Mulvihill, Jill Moran and Cynthia Alarcon.
Set design is by Fergus Gorman, while the set construction is in the capable hands of Tom O'Neill, who has created a London bedsit and a country garden patio where most of the action takes place.
Light and sound technician is Paddy Martin with John Allen, the light and sound operator, for this exciting, comedic production. The character coach is Ray Collins.
Alan Ayckbourn, who has written more than eighty plays to date, said the late Stephen Joseph asked him to write the play which “could make people laugh when their seaside summer holidays were spoiled by the rain and they came into the theatre to get dry. This seemed to me to as worthwhile a reason for writing a play as any, so I tried to comply. I hope I have succeeded.”
He certainly did, and all these years the play continues to be as popular as ever on the professional and amateur circuit all over the world. Local audiences will get their first chance to see 'Relatively Speaking' by Alan Ayckbourn running nightly from Friday, February 21 to Friday, February 28, in Athlone Little Theatre, St Mary's Place, Athlone.
For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie or phone 0906474324.