Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious comedy of misunderstandings, Relatively Speaking returns to Bath from Tuesday 23rd April to Saturday 27th April as Felicity Kendal, Jonathan Coy, Kara Tointon and Max Bennett reprise their roles, directed by Lindsay Posner, at the Theatre Royal immediately prior to the West End.
When this new production of Relatively Speaking appeared at the Theatre Royal last autumn – one of just six UK theatres the play toured to – it was one of the biggest hits of the season with tickets selling out. Now local audiences have another chance to catch this perfectly-cast and wonderfully funny comedy, as Relatively Speaking returns to the Theatre Royal for one week only prior to its West End transfer to Wyndham’s Theatre next month.
Greg only met Ginny a month ago but he 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 Ginny’s parents.
Much loved for her illustrious television and stage career, Felicity Kendal stars as Sheila. One of the UK’s most popular actresses, she has starred in many long-running series including The Good Life, Solo, The Mistress (which was filmed in Bath), Rosemary and Thyme, Strictly Come Dancing 2010 and Felicity Kendal’s Indian Shakespeare Quest. Her extensive theatre credits range from Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus and Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello at the National Theatre, to Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle and Arcadia, and Simon Gray’s The Last Cigarette. She won the Variety Club Best Actress of the Year Award for Michael Frayn’s Clouds. She starred with Alan Bates in Much Ado About Nothing and Ivanov, winning the Evening Standard Best Actress Award. Her previous performances in Bath include Fallen Angels in 2000, Happy Days in 2003, Amy’s View in 2006, The Vortex in 2008 and Mrs Warren’s Profession in 2009; all of which played the Theatre Royal prior to the West End. When this production transfers to Wyndham’s Theatre, it will be the first time that Felicity Kendal has starred in a play by Alan Ayckbourn in the West End since 1974; when she performed in The Norman Conquests and received the Variety Club of Great Britain Award for Best Newcomer.
Jonathan Coy stars as Philip. His many television credits include the BAFTA Award-nominated BBC2 series Parade’s End; the first three series of Downton Abbey; Pete Versus Life; The Old Curiosity Shop; Doc Martin; Rumpole of the Bailey; Hornblower; Foyle’s War; and Brideshead Revisited. His theatre credits include Nicholas Nickleby and The Bargain, both of which toured to Bath in 2007. His recent stage work includes the National Theatre productions of The Power of Yes and Democracy; the West End productions of Noises Off, Donkey’s Years, What the Butler Saw, Neville’s Island and in 2011 Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant.
Kara Tointon stars as Ginny. Best known for her long-running role as Dawn Swann in more than 330 episodes of EastEnders, she won BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2010. On stage, she made her West End debut in 2011 in Pygmalion with Rupert Everett, and starred in Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends in the West End in 2012. Her television credits also include Jonathan Creek, The Bill, Dream Team and the series Harry and Cosh. She recently starred in a new film of The Sweeney alongside Damian Lewis, Plan B and Ray Winstone.
The role of Greg is played by Max Bennett, whose recent stage work includes the Royal Court’s production of Posh in the West End, In Basildon at the Royal Court, Luise Miller at the Donmar, Danton’s Death at the National Theatre and Waste at the Almeida. Last year he appeared in a new film adaptation of Anna Karenina.
Relatively Speaking was Alan Ayckbourn’s first great West End success and turned him into a household name. When the show opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 1967, the critics hailed the arrival of a great new comic talent. The original West End cast featured Celia Johnson and Michael Hordern, alongside Richard Briers playing the role of Greg, before he famously co-starred with Felicity Kendal in The Good Life.
One of the world’s greatest living playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn is the author of 77 plays, including Time and Time Again, Bedroom Farce, Comic Potential and The Norman Conquests. Most of his plays have premiered at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre; more than half have since been performed in the West End or at the National Theatre, and many have also been staged across the world receiving numerous national and international awards. From 1972 to 2009, Alan Ayckbourn was Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. In 1997 he was knighted for services to the theatre; in 2009 he received The Laurence Olivier Awards Special Award; and in 2010 he was presented with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
Lindsay Posner directs Relatively Speaking fresh from a string of plaudits for his productions of Noises Off at London’s Old Vic and Abigail’s Party in the West End; both of which also played the Theatre Royal Bath. He was Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 to 1992, where his production of Death and the Maiden won two Olivier Awards. His many West End productions include Butley; An Ideal Husband; A View from the Bridge, which was Olivier Award nominated for Best Revival and Best Director; and Fiddler on the Roof, which was Olivier Award nominated for Best Musical Revival. His production of Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy is currently appearing at London’s Old Vic. In August, he will co-direct Feydeau’s A Little Hotel on the Side with Cal McCrystal for the Theatre Royal Bath’s 2013 Summer Season.
Designer Peter McKintosh’s many West End and Broadway shows include The 39 Steps, which was Tony Award nominated on Broadway for Best Scenic and Costume Design; Hello Dolly!, which was Olivier Award nominated for Best Costume Design; and Crazy For You at Regent’s Park Open Air and in the West End, which won an Olivier Award for Best Costume Design.
RELATIVELY SPEAKING appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 23rd April to Saturday 27th April. Limited ticket availability. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk