Rules for Living at the Dorfman Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.
Starring Stephen Mangan as eldest son Adam the play takes place on a Christmas Day with a dysfunctional family assembling. Adam and his wife are secretly living apart, younger son Matthew has bought his new loud girlfriend and father is returning from hospital. Edith the mother is just trying to hold it all together.
The play is strongly reminiscent of the French and Saunders dinner party sketch where nothing is too much trouble and the hostess can't wait for the guests to leave. But in this case everyone is the 'hostess'.
Petty jealousies, random traditions and lasting grudges show these people all stuck in their repetitive patterns of negative behaviour.
As things go from bad to worse the rules of their behaviour get flashed up on screens - "must sit down to lie", "cleans to stay calm" etc.
I should perhaps state that this is a comedy - and a very funny one at that. But it's also a sort of self-diagnosed family cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) session. The question the play poses is can each character break these rules and 'get happy'?
Not perhaps the riot is could have been but very funny all the same. Painful to watch at times as it perhaps reminds one of family events all too plainly.