The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
February 22, 23, 24, 25 & 26, 1977.
by Alan Ayckbourn
Suzanne Brocken – Ginny
Roger Job – Greg
Margaret Ockenden – Sheila
Geoffrey Linssen – Philip
Assistant to the Director – Monica Bueno
Assistant Stage Manager – Elizabeth Prince
Assistant Stage Manager – Ethel Barrs
Assistant Stage Manager – Denis Picott
Set Design – George Porter
Set Construction – Alan Upton
Set Construction – George Laye
Properties – Margaret Davy
Wardrobe – Hilary Woodward
Lighting & Sound – Frank Hurrell
Lighting & Sound – Andrew Theaker
Publicity – Terry Mase
Front of House Management – Audrey Laye
Front of House Management – George Laye
Programme Note #1: Relatively Speaking
GP wrote: “Alan Ayckbourn writes beautifully economic and funny dialogue. Like Pinter he has a wonderful ear for the interplay and nuances of speech and this situation comedy has been a delight to work on.
We hope that you will judge our presentation pleasing and that you will find your visit to “The Willows” both funny and a tonic for a February day.”
Publicity #1: Relatively Speaking
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “Wick press on with humour”
“Wick Theatre Company, who just failed to complete a hat-trick of Brighton drama festival wins with Noel Coward’s The Marquise, continue in humorous vein when they present Relatively Speaking at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from February 22 to 26.
In director George Porter’s opinion it is the ‘best bit of comedy writing that Alan Ayckbourn has done.’ Indeed, it was Ayckbourn’s first major success. ‘The script is just beautiful and contains some lovely witty lines.’ commented George. ‘It’s really a comedy of mistaken identities, but never reaches farcical proportions.’
The four-strong cast who play out the confusion are Roger Job, Sue Brocken, Geoffrey Linssen and Margaret Ockenden. Roger made his Wick debut three years ago in Wrong Side of the Park, but never before has landed a starring rôle. Also playing his first big part will be Geoffrey Linssen, who has been on the fringe for a long time with ‘walk on rôles’ and has done some compering in Southwick Operatic Society shows.
Top billing, however, is no new experience for Sue Brocken or Margaret Ockenden. Sue had an important part two years ago in Roots – the last full length play that George Porter directed for Wick – and also featured prominently in Antigone, which won the 1975 Southwick drama festival. Margaret is returning to the stage after a well-earned two-year ‘sabbatical’, having taken many leading parts for Wick in previous years.
Tickets for Relatively Speaking are available from the box office, telephone Shoreham 3641 or 61300.”
Review #1: Relatively Speaking
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: February 25 1977 issue – page 3
Text Header: “Wick tread a verbal jungle”
Following Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy, Relatively Speaking, is like treading through a verbal jungle. The route is littered with misunderstandings, misinterpretations, misjudgements and almost every other ‘mis’ under the sun. To say it is a comedy of mistaken identities is a gross understatement. Who better to perform it than Wick Theatre Company who excel at most things, especially the modern situation comedy with a tightly-knit cast.
They turned up trumps again on Tuesday on their opening night at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. The muddle revolves around two couples who are never quite what they seem to be and are always talking at cross purposes. There’s Ginny [Susan Brocken] and Greg [Roger Job] living together in a London flat and Sheila [Margaret Ockenden] and Philip [Geoffrey Linssen] leading an apparently respectable married life in the country. As in many of Wick’s other successes, teamwork is the strongpoint of the production and no member of the cast stands head and shoulders above the rest. Which is as it should be since the ingenious dialogue makes the play rather than the actual characters who are played fairly flat.
I did spot, however, a couple of pleasing idiosynchrasies [sic] among the men. Roger Job’s intonation often makes him sound like the late Tony Hancock and Geoffrey Linssen reminded me of Penelope Keith’s long-suffering husband in BBC TV’s The Good Life.
Relatively Speaking continues at the Barn Theatre tonight [Friday] and tomorrow.
Review #2: Relatively Speaking
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: John Mathias
Text Header: “Round and round the garden …”
A MAZE of situations in a plot deftly laid out by playwright Alan Ayckbourn makes Relatively Speaking virtually a guaranteed winner. The succession of misunderstandings in this ingeniously constructed comedy were tackled with verve, if not always lightness, by the Wick Theatre Company.
But the author is to blame for one fiendish stage obstacle facing amateur stagings of the work, which didn’t help this presentation. The difficult task of changing a complicated set in the first scene to an even more elaborate lay-out took so long that it was spun into an unscheduled interval. A scene change shouldn’t call for house lights to go up and an interval bell. The actors also had difficulty in manoeuvring around the little patio area, with a garden table so small that it looked as if a Sunday lunch had been laid out on a card table.
Margaret Ockenden gave a deliciously dizzy performance as the wife who discovers that her husband’s secret hoeing has all but uprooted their marriage. Geoffrey Linssen as the philanderer Philip was trifle too aggressive to accept as a middle-aged lover hiding behind his Financial Times. Suzanne Brocken as the fly-in-the-ointment young Ginny and Roger Job as her boyfriend worked hard to create the bewildered pair enmeshed in a perilously insecure relationship.
Director George Porter [assisted by Monica Bueno] did a creditable job considering the small playing area. The main garden-patio set should have suggested a picture of lush living, but somehow the plastic and paper blooms around the place didn’t give that air. As it happens, the first set was more effective – which was not what the author intended.