The other evening I went and did something I've never done in my life. I went and saw an Alan Ayckbourn play and I must say it was an excellent introduction.
Relatively Speaking, directed by Sharon White and currently showing at St Luke's Theatre was wonderful bit of comedy playfully delivered by 4 outstanding actors.
Basically the play is about 2 couples and a lot of misunderstandings and confusion that results in suspicions of affairs and parenthood. The dialogue is exquisite and delivered with precision timing by the performers.
I did find the first scene was a bit of a challenge to engage with and I suspect that this might have to do with the delivery of the lines here. Perhaps it was just the night I went, but I thought that the two performers playing the young couple could have afforded to be a little bit more playful in their relationship with each other, just to really play up that dialogue a bit more. I think however that this is more down to the actors being relaxed with each other and interacting as a couple in love.
I also noticed the British flag as part of the scenery and it would have been nice to hear a British accent from the two performers in the first scene rather than an Australian one, just because I found it a bit surprising is all. I also think with certain parts of the scripting and linguistic idiosyncrasies, it might just be better suited to a British accent.
However the above criticisms are minimal compared with the enjoyment I got out of the evening and I still think it was an impressive performance.
The actors were excellent with lines and cues and for a play of this calibre that would require excruciatingly expert precision, they delivered it effortlessly. It was just beautiful to watch one actor leave, just as another actor arrived and the misunderstandings ensue, resulting in pure hilarious mayhem. This must have taken serious rehearsing and dedicated levels of commitment from the actors.
Stand-out performances for me were Sandra Harman and Paul Careless (whom I might add really doesn't live up to that name) playing an older married couple. The delivery of this performance really did the dialogue justice and there were so many 'spot-on' moments with wonderful inflections and a few double-entendres. I did however think that they're far too young to be parents to a 20-something.
A wonderful and polished work delivered expertly. Director Sharon White has done an incredible job and should be applauded.
I highly recommend this play. If you have nothing planned and want to be cheered up or just enjoy an evening out, this will be well worth the $15 invested.
Relatively Speaking runs until Saturday 22 March 2014.
St Luke's Theatre Society is located at Ekibin Road in Annerley.