AMONG the great writers of comedy must be numbered Alan Ayckbourn. A cross between drama and farce, his work brings to life typical families with whom we can identify.

This vintage 1972 piece involves three couples – Sidney Hopcroft, an ambitious tradesman (Sean Pagmore) and his submissive wife Jane (Emily Holden); Geoffrey Jackson (Steve McCarten), an architect and his wife, Eva (Sasha Paul) – and Ronald Brewster-Wright (Christopher Mellows), a banker and his alcoholic wife Marion (Julia Savill).

The action takes place over three Christmas Eves, each couple hosting the others in turn. Jane Hopcroft is a home workaholic with everything neat and tidy and dusted at least a dozen times.

In contrast is depressed Eva and in the second act, she is brilliantly portrayed in a suicidal mood.

All her attempts to end her life are failures – when Jane finds Eva with her head in the oven, she assumes she is cleaning it and sets about cleaning it herself.

The final act ends up with hilarious forfeits.

The play was directed by Frank Holden and all six players must be congratulated on an outstanding performance.