Throughout Leigh’s dramatic comedy are near constant malfunctioning relationships that credit the very definition of dysfunctional: flawed and defective. As act one and two advance in tension, the audience become aware very quickly that the idea is epitomised in varying degrees through interlacing relationships that have been left to develop in marriage or carelessly formed to keep up appearances and how these are presented, in most aspects, decaying. The varying dysfunctional relationships are shown through the female characters and how they interact with the others within the play.
Undoubtedly, at the core of the play’s dysfunctional relationships is Leigh’s characterisation of the leading modern day medusa herself: Beverly, and where her character ensures that she infects every bond that she forms. Despite perhaps being Leigh’s prophecy of the new middle class, Beverly’s synthetic persona is explained in “The films of Mike Leigh” by Roy Caney
“(Beverly) plays a part in which every gesture, inflection and tone of voice has been worked out in advance, and in which there can be no real learning or discovery”
This results in the characters who attempt or are pressured into forming a relationship with her are left at an impasse, completely at the mercy of her overbearing personality and the incursion of dysfunctionality as they learn nothing about her with which to retaliate, and are in a sense, made defenceless.
The idea is introduced through the build up of tension in act one, as before the failure of Beverly's marriage is shown, the dysfunctionality of friendships must first be delivered.
The unsettling sound of polite small talk forming between characters who foreshadow their emerging dislike of each other later in act two. Although Angela saying to Beverly "well you're the friendly type aren't you?" The audience is the mounting pressure to convey the impression of truth and to simply please Beverly so they can forge a friendship together. The tension...