By Katrina ffiske


Caroline Harker returns to Salisbury in September in the comedy ‘Relatively Speaking’ by Alan Ayckbourn.

Earlier in the year, she played the younger Queen in the comedy ‘Handbagged’ by Moira Buffini. Before heading off for holiday, Caroline told me about her role in ‘Relatively Speaking’. She is bubbly,  enthusiastic and thrilled to be returning to the city.

“Salisbury Playhouse is a wonderful space to perform in and I love the audiences; you feel they are up for a good time. There’s always an excited buzz in the auditorium and a feeling that a big event is happening. They seem a very loyal audience. My 18-year-old daughter came. She sat in the foyer on her own but everyone was so friendly to her.”

‘Relatively Speaking’ was Ayckbourn’s first major success, written in 1965. Is Caroline looking forward to acting in it?

“My mother, Polly Adams, has actually played the same part, Sheila. She loved it so much, she cried when it came to an end. I am hoping I will enjoy it as much as she did. It’s quite a family occasion, as I am acting alongside my stepdaughter, Louise Calf, Anthony Calf’s daughter.

“A pair of slippers are discovered under a bed, which leads to a web of intrigue between two couples, at the end you are left hanging, but deeply intrigued. It’s fun watching everything unravel. Sheila is an open, genuine friendly person with lovely qualities, but there is also a mystery about her.”

 Comedy can be hard to perform. “It’s difficult as comedy has to be well done for the scenes to look natural. There is a music to Ayckbourn’s scripts so, if you add any extra words, you break the natural flow.”

 Caroline is also looking forward to being back in the Haunch of Venison. “All the actors in ‘Handbagged’ enjoyed sitting in the cosy bar relaxing after the performances, the staff are always friendly and welcoming. Another favourite was the Rai D’or – the Thai food is excellent.”

Rehearsals start at the end of August, and once ‘Relatively Speaking’ is up and running, Caroline starts rehearsing for ‘Breaking the Code’ by Hugh Whitemore, playing in October. “I will be moving to Salisbury for a full two months, acting in two completely different plays: how lucky and how inspiring.”

Caroline heads off to her holiday, script in hand, to learn her lines. Salisbury looks forward to welcoming her back.

Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn, Directed

by Jo Newman. September 4 to 28.

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