Over the past month or so I have been helping out with the Chameleon Theatre Company, after seeing several of their shows.
I learnt how to work with the lights and sound effects for the show from Lionel Elliott and Rebecca Nye. Last Sunday I saw the full dress rehearsal as I will be unable to help during the actual show due to holiday-itis. So treat this review like a film review when the film critics go to see the show early.
Without further ado, here is my review of Relatively Speaking, written by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, and performed by the Chameleons, at Ritchie Memorial Hall, Chandler’s Ford.
Misdirection, misunderstanding, and deceit
The plot is like a Shakespeare plot in that it relies on misdirection, misunderstanding, and deceit. Greg and Ginny are a young couple who are going to get married. Ginny says she will visit her parents and tells Greg not to go with her, but he does anyway. That’s the basic plot, and it escalates into a funny plot with a lot of lying and characters unintentionally making the situation worse.
In Relatively Speaking, there are only four characters and two locations so the dialogue and characters can be more focused on the misdirection of the plot.
The play is built upon lies and characters slowly gaining more information about the situation. There are many hilarious scenes where the characters are oblivious to information that the audience knows. It is a good example of dramatic irony, which can be used for both comedy and drama in film, TV and plays. The uses of dramatic irony in this provides some of the biggest laughs in the whole play.
Any villain in the play?
The four main characters, the only characters, are all similar in that they all lie and deceive each other, yet none of the characters are the villain and none of them are bad. They just want to achieve their own goals and they try to do this by dragging the other characters into their plans. There are many hilarious one liners and moments of practical comedy.
The play is very clever in its execution and slowly unraveling more misunderstandings and hijinks. The characters are often victims of their own tricks and all of them are very dumb at points, making it very funny to see the characters fail to understand the situation.
Overall this play is very funny and clever. If you want to know how to write a comedic script, this is a good play to learn some basics. I highly recommend this to everyone, although I don’t think younger children will understand it very well. Anyone 13 or above will enjoy it.
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