Everyone creates 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? In Sam Holcroft’s theatrically playful dark comedy a family does just that. And when the instructions are there for all to see, audience included, there’s really no place to hide. As long-held mechanisms for survival are laid bare, even Mum, who’s been preparing this lunch since last January, becomes embroiled. Long-held rivalries and resentments will out. Accusations fly, relationships deconstruct, the rules take over.
Rules for Living premiered at the National Theatre, London, in March 2015.