A DARK comedy about dysfunctional families is being taken on by a Richmond theatre group as their next performance.

Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society (RADS) will perform Rules for Living at the Georgian Theatre Royal from Thursday, November 7 to Saturday, November 9.

Taking place over a Christmas meal, the characters create their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas and they each follow those rules, rigidly?

As long-held mechanisms for survival are laid bare, even Mum, who has been preparing this lunch since last January, becomes embroiled. Time-honoured rivalries and resentments will out. Accusations fly, relationships deconstruct, the rules take over.

In Sam Holcroft’s theatrically playful, dark comedy the instructions are there for all to see, audience included – so there is no place to hide.

During the course of the play, the rules which each character must abide by will be displayed on computer screens around the auditorium, which adds to the fun as the audience is immediately aware that, for instance, if one of the characters is sitting down, he must be lying.

Director Beki Stevenson said: "I'm really pleased to be able to bring a modern National Theatre show to the Georgian Theatre Royal with RADS.

"I first read the play before the first show of Rules for Living had even been performed, and it's really stuck with me over the past few years.

"I love the way Sam Holcroft has tackled what is a serious issue in the way that people create coping mechanisms for mental health, coupled with absolutely superb comedy.

"I'm extremely fortunate to have a wonderful cast that have completely thrown themselves into the rehearsals and have really brought the characters to life."

Performances at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond begin at 7.30pm. Tickets are between £7.50 to £14.50.

For Box Office call 01748-825252 or book online at georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk.