From his very first words to the packed house – “Thank you for turning out on a Sunday” – Timothy West showed us to be in the presence of a gentleman as well as a famously fine actor. We should have been the ones thanking him, for he was doing the work – along with his wife Prunella Scales and their son Samuel West – and we were just enjoying ourselves.

What’s more, they were working for nothing, helping the Playhouse’s £1m appeal, at the end of a demanding week on stage. Prunella had continued her starring role in the West End production of Carrie’s War, Timothy had completed the tour of The Winslow Boy (recently seen in Oxford), and Samuel had given what one critic hailed the performance of his career in Lucy Prebble’s new play Enron at Chichester.

Conforming to the theme suggested by the Playhouse’s title for the evening, the wide-ranging programme featured excerpts from plays in which family matters loomed large.

The meatiest morsel was the complete 40 minutes of Harold Pinter’s 1982 radio play Family Voices. Samuel recalled that he had first performed this unsettling piece as a student in Oxford 24 years ago. It was offered again in tribute to the writer’s memory. Pinter also figured earlier, in a lighter vein, with all three performers presenting breakfast at the crummy lodging house seen in The Birthday Party.

Lady Bracknell’s interrogation of prospective son-in-law Jack Worthing showed us Prunella at her comic best, while her classical acting skills were demonstrated as Gertrude to Sam’s Hamlet – a role which earned him critical plaudits with the RSC in 2001.

A chunk of J. B. Priestley’s When We Are Married featured Timothy as the sort of insensitive, complacent, self-admiring northerner he did so well in TV’s Brass, while his hilarious handling, with Prunella, of a scene from Terence Frisby’s It’s All Right If I Do It (1977) showed a play well deserving of revival. Their booze-fuelled exchanges from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? did too.