Rules for Living

We braved leaving the house on a chilly Halloween evening, to be warmly welcomed by the New Wolsey Theatre and fast-forwarded to Christmas, and be educated on the Rules for Living…

This play focuses on the ultimate dysfunctional family, who are desperately trying to create the perfect Christmas for their ill father – but everyone creates their own rules for living. Matthew must sit to tell a lie. Carrie must stand to tell a joke. Nicole must drink to contradict. Adam must affect an accent to mock. Edith must clean to keep calm. 

Once the drinks start flowing and the games intensify, family resentments and relationships are pulled apart with a bigger bang than a Christmas cracker. Christmas day will never quite be the same again.

Written by Sam Holcroft, Directed by Simon Godwin and produced by English Touring Theatre (in conjunction with Royal & Derngate Northampton and Rose Theatre Kingston) – this modern play on the common harsh realities of family relations at Christmastime make this show a cracker. It’s utterly ridiculous, yet painfully relatable and hilarious.

The set of the quaint and everything perfectly in place house gradually turns into something almost mirroring a scene of a crime! I thought the set was clever in its transformation.

With a cast of 7, each cast member brings very particular qualities to their character. You find yourself wondering which one you are, or whom they might remind you of in your own life. I always think that comedy, especially of the physical kind, is a tricky skill to learn – but these guys make it look effortless.

Overall, if you’re looking for a winter warmer, this is certainly the show to see. You’ll laugh, gasp for breath and above all be entertained for an evening.

Rules for Living runs at the New Wolsey Theatre until Saturday 4th November. For more information or to book visit