The little Theatre at the foot of Granville Street, outlasting the venerable Playhouse, older than the Arts Club and without any form of Government support, is celebrating their 50th consecutive year of providing first class entertainment.
Kicking off the fiftieth season is the jewel in the crown – Relatively Speaking – Alan Ayckbourn’s first and biggest commercial success on the west end stage.
Ayckbourn juggles with four characters; an unmarried young pair linked to a middle-aged couple by the girl’s affair with the husband. The play, a litany of misunderstandings, is a house of cards, always on the brink of collapse.
The play follows a direct trajectory from the French farces of the 18th century, Samuel Beckett’s vaudeville-style absurdity to Noel Coward’s smooth inanity.
Metro’s production, opening on August 25th and running to September 22nd, is fortunate to have Vancouver’s premier ‘British’ actress Alison Schamberger playing the role of Sheila. Alison – a cross between Judi Dench and Maggie Smith – imperiously brings the best out of the urbane Paul Fisher, playing her husband and rising stars Anita Reimer and James Challis as the young lovers.
London’s west end critic Hilary Spurling – attending 1967’s opening of ‘ relatively Speaking wrote “ this is an ingenious, airy structure of misunderstanding, diffidence, hair breadth escapes from tactlessness and the subtle, desperate ruses to which the polite are driven in order to avoid appearing gauche. His ( Ayckbourn’s ) amusement at these foibles has a certain timelessness and his plot might have been lifted from the 18th century.”
Come early, come often but miss ‘ Relatively Speaking ‘ at your peril !
METRO THEATRE; 1370 South West Marine Drive, Vancouver.
Relatively speaking previews on Friday August 24th ( $12 per seat preview rate ) then opens August 25th and runs to September 22nd, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings along with two Sunday matinees.