West End Production
Wyndham's Theatre, London
Tuesday 27th August 2013
The heyday of Ayckbourn's newest work making West End history and breaking box office records may have petered out, but the sweeping popularity of his most famous scripts seems to be timeless. With the recent West End success of A Chorus of Disapproval starring Rob Brydon, this new production of his first big hit also uses Ayckbourn's pet hate of a stellar cast to fill the seats at the Wyndham's this summer.
Kara Tointon plays Ginny, the attractive young apple of new boyfriend Greg (Max Bennett)'s eye. As Ginny heads out of London for the day to "visit her parents", Greg's decision to ask for Ginny's hand in marriage, coupled with his niggling suspicion over her cagey lack of detail and receipt of copious bunches of flowers, cause him to follow her out to Buckinghamshire. Their unsuspecting hosts Sheila (Felicity Kendal) and her husband Phillip (Jonathan Coy) are not, however, Ginny's parents - although she and Phillip are certainly no strangers - and the ensuing farcical confusion is the basis of the comic plot.
Performed with gusto, the comedy is wrung out of the long scenes and wordy speeches so often found in Ayckbourn's style of script by a worthy cast. Predictable though the plot may be, the performances are a delight and this particularly British comedy sparkles with witty characterisations. The period of the late 60s was well maintained through the excellent costuming and set design, making up for the slightly dated feel to the script.
A feel-good evening that it is difficult to imagine could do anything but make an audience leave with a warm feeling of shared enjoyment and a smile on their faces.