By Alan Ay­ck­bourn He­brew ver­sion by Oren Nee­man Di­rected by Muli Shul­man Beer­sheba The­ater, Septem­ber 5

The Jerusalem Post - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - • By HE­LEN KAYE

Ques­tion: How, asked Muli Shul­man and Oded Nee­man, do you up­date a 1960s com­edy, a Bri­tish com­edy at that (that al­ready has its own set of rules), and above all a Bri­tish com­edy by a mas­ter of the genre, to be ac­ces­si­ble to an Is­raeli au­di­ence in 2017?

An­swer: You let the mas­ter do the talk­ing and tweak here and there, like us­ing smart­phones in­stead of land lines. Q: Does it work? A: You bet – or nearly, nearly. First we have Neta Haker’s set – the grubby bed-sit where we first meet the co-habit­ing Greg (Oren Co­hen) and Ginny (In­bar Dan­non), that is whisked off to re­veal the spa­cious pa­tio backed by the sump­tu­ous coun­try home of Sheila (Adva Edni) and Philip (Amir Kriaf) where most of the ac­tion takes place. This is niftily com­ple­mented by Oren Dar’s cos­tumes, Amir Cas­tro’s light­ing and Elad Adar’s witty mu­sic.

Rel­a­tively Speak­ing has more twists and turns that a maze, but it’s still a clas­sic farce, about ev­ery­thing: iden­tity, com­pre­hen­sion, emo­tions, ad­dresses... and that’s where the trou­ble starts. You see, Ginny says she’s go­ing to see her par­ents, and also tell them the good news that Greg has pro­posed, though she in­sists he’ll meet them at another time.

But Greg, hav­ing filched what he thinks is the par­ents’ ad­dress, de­cides to sur­prise her and them with his pres­ence. Sheila and Philip are sur­prised all right, and we’re off.

Bri­tish com­edy works on a hair-trig­ger of nu­ance and tim­ing. If you’re off by so much as a nanosec­ond the com­edy falls flat. Co­hen and Dan­non are ea­ger, sweet, lov­able, be­liev­able – but they have yet to mas­ter nu­ance and tim­ing. For­tu­nately Rel­a­tively Speak­ing also has Edni and Kriaf, who have the genre down pat, who play with and off each other, whose in­ter­ac­tion with the young­sters lifts their per­for­mances with­out a trace of ef­fort, and whose phys­i­cal comedic shenani­gans, es­pe­cially those of Kriaf, pro­voke a near hys­ter­i­cal re­sponse from a guf­faw­ing au­di­ence.

As the fa­mous Dis­ney tune has it “I love to laugh” – who doesn’t in our fraught times? Beer­sheba’s pro­duc­tion lets us.

(Ilan Ba­sor)

THE CAST of ‘Rel­a­tively Speak­ing.’

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