Table Manners is just one play in a trilogy of plays, written by Alan Ayckbourn under the umbrella heading of The Norman Conquests. A series of productions depicting the life, trials and tribulations of the slightly eccentric Norman and his somewhat dysfunctional family and friends as they converge together for a civilized weekend at Sarah’s house. The action of the plays takes place simultaneously in different parts of the property, thus the characters are completely unaware of what’s taking place in differing areas.
Norman and Ruth have only been married for five years but already both are apparently living fairly independent lives! So much so that Ruth is blissfully unaware that her husband is contemplating a ‘nice weekend away’ with the mousey Annie. Unaware that is until she is summoned to the spot by Sarah, Annie’s sister-in-law. Undaunted by his wife’s arrival, Norman still contrives to cause havoc, now involving all three women. The situation spirals out of control with the arrival of the hapless Tom, Annie’s would-be suitor who misreads the whole situation, leaving chaos and confusion in his wake.
The action takes place in the dining room of Annie’s mother’s house!