Alan Ayckbourn's first hit Relatively Speaking is closer to farce than to the insightful dramas of middle-class (often middle-aged) angst that followed in his long and still continuing writing career.

Pretty near bombproof where the matter of audience satisfaction is concerned, the play benefits hugely in The Mill’s sparkling revival from being directed by Robin Herford, once Ayckbourn’s principal lieutenant at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre. No one is better equipped to deliver what the great man expects.

Chiefly, of course, this is glorious comedy – with Relatively Speaking still, for me, one of the funniest in the canon, whose brilliantly scripted confusions leave audiences blinking through tears of laughter.

The big joke in the piece – indeed, the core around which the entire comic conceit is constructed – arises from a naive young man’s mistaken belief that his girlfriend’s middle-aged lover and his wife are her parents.

Socially inept Greg (Christopher Bonwell) is madly in love with the worldly and sexually experienced Ginny (Lianne Harvey).

First seen post-coitally in her London flat, the pair alternately canoodle and bicker as Ginny prepares to entrain to the country, allegedly to see her parents.

Greg’s discovery of a pair of men’s slippers beneath the bed causes the ructions. Is she playing him false?

Indeed she is – or at any rate was. Ginny’s Sunday visit to the Home Counties luxury of The Willows, Lower Pendon (designer Michael Holt) is to tell her boss Philip (James Simmons) to desist from his attentions. His demur wife Sheila (Rachel Fielding) will be safely out of the way at church. This turns out not to be the case.

Following her there, having found the address on a fag packet, comes Greg, out to seek the consent of her ‘parents’ to their marriage. Wonderful fun ensues.

The play is at The Mill till April 18 (0118 969 8000 –, then moves (April 21 to May 16) to London’s Jermyn Street Theatre (020 7287 2875)