Three couples collide in wonderfully theatrical ways in How the Other Half Loves. Bob and Theresa, Frank and Fiona, and William and Mary play out a farce on one set that depicts the Phillipses’ and Fosters’ homes. The set is divided right down the middle, and we watch simultaneous action in each place. In one of the great scenes in all of English comedy, two disastrous dinner parties — the Detweilers at the Phillipses, and the Detweilers at the Fosters — take place on two different nights but occur at the same time.
This masterful playing with stage time and space is the hallmark of prolific English playwright Alan Ayckbourn, whose successful comedies (78 so far) include Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Bedroom Farce, Communicating Doors, House & Garden and My Wonderful Day. Ayckbourn wrote Loves early in his career (1969), but it contains all his patented marital themes and dazzling maze-like structure.
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8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through January 18. Theatre Southwest, 8944 Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $15 to $17.
Tue., Dec. 31; Fridays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 31. Continues through Jan. 18, 2013