Ticketmaster Groups recently caught up with Felicity Kendal as she prepares for the West End return of Alan Ayckborn’s classic comedy Relatively Speaking, which opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 14th May
Q: Congratulations on your return to the West End, how does it feel to be back?
A: It’s like coming home, I love it.
Q: Relatively speaking is the second Alan Ayckbourn play you have performed in since your role in The Norman Conquests. What do you feel it is about Alan’s plays that so many audiences have connected with?
A: Alan writes about real people, not always great people, but this means they are people that we can identify with. He writes about their loves and pain and silly foibles, he writes about us. Every word that he writes is true to the character that speaks it, nothing is part of an argument or making a political point. In that way, he is almost unique among the great writers. His plays are great writing couched in simplicity.
Q: You have had the opportunity to play some amazing roles in your career so far, but your new role in Relatively Speaking is a very different character to those you have previously played; what new challenges have you experienced since taking on the role of Sheila?
A: Sheila is the perfect part for me to tackle at the moment as she is very different to the last few plays that I’ve done, she is neither a mother nor a bitch so that makes a change! I love her, but as with any role, she is a challenge.
Q: Relatively speaking originally premiered in the West End in 1967 and opened to critical acclaim. What do you think it is about this story that will connect with a new generation of theatre lovers?
A: This play is only dated by its date! And a little by the social behaviour of the 60s, but the story and emotions, the comedy and complications are timeless. The play is about love, infidelity, ego and disappointment. I don’t think these emotions date, and similarly the humour does not date one bit. It’s a joy.
Q: What has it been like touring with the show and what has the audience reaction been so far?
A: Touring was a delight; we completely sold out and came back for more. What’s not to like?
Q: What has it been like to work with Jonathon Coy, Kara Tointon and Max Bennett?
A: A great team, very lovely both off and on the stage.
Q: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?
A: Far too many to choose, I have worked with so many brilliant people and hopefully have been influenced by all of them. If I HAD to choose I would say Sir Peter Hall [famed English theatre and film director].
Q: And finally, what do you think it is that makes Relatively Speaking the perfect night out for groups?
A: You will laugh a lot, and feel better about life when you leave the theatre than when you walked in!
Groups 8+ get best available tickets reduced to £32.50. Valid Tuesday to Friday performances and Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees.