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Relative Values @ The Theatre Royal Brighton

Published by: Greg Donaldson on 2nd Jul 2013 | View all blogs by Greg Donaldson

2601ashm_528-529 copy P Hodge, S Pacey, R Bremner, C Quentin.jpgCoward’s Relative Values opens in a manor house in Kent, as the butler, Crestwell and lady’s maid, Moxie discuss the news that their mistress's son, the Earl of Marshwood is to be married to a Hollywood actress. Moxie has reason to be particularly upset by this betrothal, and the rest of the household are none too pleased with this affront to their class values, however much they pretend to be terribly modern and liberal. Set amidst changing post-war attitudes, Coward captures the transformation of the times in this comedy of manners with his usual one-liners and quick wit.

Patricia Hodge shines as the Countess, conniving to end her son’s engagement and keep her lady’s maid, and all the while cracking perfectly timed one-liners and maintaining an air of effortless poise and good humour.

Supporting her is a star-studded cast, with Rory Bremner and Caroline Quentin as Crestwell, the butler, and Moxie, the lady’s maid respectively. Quentin gets some of the big laughs of the night, as she transforms herself from maid to Lady, without much success. Bremner, in his theatrical debut, was a little caricatured, but delivered his absurdly loquacious speeches with vigour.

The first half would benefit from a good trim, coming in at 90 minutes and2601ashm_068-65 copy T nunn, P Hodge, K Kinglsey.jpg with a rather repetitive first act set-up. Once the fun and games of the mistaken identities and scheming matriarch are underway, the pace picks up enormously and the laughs keep coming.

Trevor Nunn’s production features a wonderfully opulent set, and intermittent newscasts from the period, which help to contextualise the piece. The play is a light, somewhat inconsequential comedy, whose farcical elements never really take off, but the fabulous wit and great central performance makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Performances Tues 2nd to Sat 6th July 7.45pm - Matinees Thurs and Sat.

To book tickets

0844 871 7650*

(Subject to booking fee)

Tickets £15-£38




1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Thanks, Greg. This does sound like great fun ... and a treat to have a star studded Trevor Nunn production on your doorstep!
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