CHRISTMAS should be a time of peace and good will.

In Alan Ayckbourn’s play, Season’s Greetings, written in 1980, well directed by John Chidgey and performed at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse, this is not the case.

The family and friends of Neville and Belinda Bunker have gathered for three days of Yuletide celebration.

Sadly, familiarity breeds contempt.

Neville’s inebriated sister, Phyllis (Tracy Burns) and her puppet-obsessed husband, Bernard (Bill Platt) are there as he prepares for his annual show.

In one of the funniest scenes, it turns out to be a disaster yet indicates Bill Platt’s versatility.

Among the guests is Clive (Peter Ruddick) whom Belinda finds irresistibly attractive because he writes.

Neville’s uncle, Harvey, is a security guard who takes his job so seriously that he carries a knife strapped to his calf,

Played outstandingly by Gary Collins, he works his evil wherever he can.

On one amusing occasion, a couple embracing under the Christmas tree are halted by the sound of a mechanical toy.

The protagonists, Neville and Belinda, are portrayed well by Barry Spencer and Victoria Evans. Belinda obviously has no time for her husband. At the end, they are the last on stage.

This play is not easy since it involves many different moves and complicated relationships.

Well done Dan Ferguson who stepped in at short notice to play Eddie.

* Season’s Greetings is at the Garrick Playhouse until Saturday, November 25. Book online or telephone 0161 928 1677. Star rating: * * * *