IF you have not ventured east to Scarborough for Alan Ayckbourn's 60th anniversary celebrations at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this summer, then please don't compound that error by missing out on this Bill Kenwright-produced revival of How The Other Half Loves.

Now on a national tour with a fresh cast after a West End run, this play has its place in Ayckbourn's own history as the first to be directed by the playwright himself in its Scarborough premiere. After a 40-year hiatus, he directed it again in 2009, and the highest compliment that can be paid to Kenwright's 2017 tour is that it holds its own against such esteemed company.

It helps no end that Alan Strachan, a master director of the Ayckbourn repertoire, is at the helm and has at his command an ace company of familiar faces in Robert Daws, Caroline Langrishe, soap stars Charlie Brooks and Leon Ockenden, Sara Crowe and Matthew Cottle (from the London cast).

The play is in essence a farce – although Ayckbourn considers 1979's Taking Steps, his choice for this summer's revival at the SJT, to be his only true farce – so maybe you could call it a sophisticated situation comedy instead.

Not especially deep by Ayckbourn’s later Ibsenesque standards, it is peopled with characters too self-absorbed to note the end of the Sixties is nigh. All except hyperactive, tousle-haired Teresa Phillips (Brooks), a young mum who is forever cutting out snippets of world woes from the Guardian and sending off letters in the forlorn hope of publication.

It is the autumn of 1969, and brash, unlovable, in-love-with-his-stud-muffin-self husband Bob (Ockenden) has his eyes and more besides on Fiona (Langrishe), the well groomed, independent wife of Bob’s boss, Frank Foster (Daws).

Fiona is no more emotionally attached to young lover Bob than old-school Frank, and selfish Bob may be experiencing the post-baby blues, but their ill-thought excuses for late-night absences can lead only to more trouble when they drag quietly ambitious company accountant William Featherstone (Cottle) and his timorous wife Mary (Crowe) into the mire.

Here comes the famous double dinner party scene, where the parties on successive nights are staged at the same time, with the hapless Featherstones "trapped" on the spot, turning their heads ever faster from the Fosters’ scruffy table to the Phillipses' more formal setting. The timing is so exquisite, the choreographed movement so precise, they draw spontaneous applause.

Ayckbourn's brilliantly inventive theatrical conceit of the two houses sharing one stage is executed superbly by the criss-crossing actors, complemented by subtle changes in Julie Godfrey's design for each of the four scenes.

All six performances are top drawer, full of both physical and verbal comedy as the couples struggle to say afloat in a sea of lies and misunderstandings, and all the while Ayckbourn nails the failings and fumbling of marriage and the corrosive impact of the class divide with diamond-cutting precision.

How The Other Half Loves runs at Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york