Alan Ayckbourn's keen perception of personal relationships and foibles cannot fail to disappoint theatregoers, and this new production of Relatively Speaking, at Salisbury Playhouse until September 28, is a sheer delight.

Jo Newman directs this sumptuous production, played in the round by a brilliant cast of four. The younger couple, Greg and Ginny, played by Hubert Burton and Louise Calf, have their own agenda, with Ginny popping down to the country, ostensibly to visit her parents, while her partner Greg follows, secretly, yearning to find out about her background and future marriage prospects

In the rural splendour of Sheila and Philip's house in the country, Greg and Ginny arrive independently, and, in true Ayckbourn fashion, misunderstandings escalate and chaos ensues.

The evocative set is designed by James Button, with excellent lighting by Chris Davey. Caroline Harker is superb as Sheila, who rises to the occasion as an unexpected hostess, and copes magnificently, being unaware of prior encounters. Tim McMullan, as her husband Philip, is brilliant, sensing new possibilities that may nullify his initial alarm.

The set, in the heart of the audience, is cleverly contrived, to convey the contrast between Ginny's London flat and the immaculate flower filled garden of Sheila's and Philip's house. Even the ornamental lily pond has a significant role.

The audience clearly relished this thoroughly entertaining play, which was first staged in 1965, and happily has not been updated from pre-decimalisation days, when it was a considerable moral trend-setter.

Stella Taylor