Next Stage Theatre Company presents Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn

Next Stage Theatre Company presents Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn

Mission Theatre

£10.50 to £12.50

“Absent Friends is a play for a small intimate theatre where one can hear the actors breathing and the silences ticking away.” Alan Ayckbourn Scarborough 1976

As Absent Friends opens, we meet a dysfunctional group of friends who have come together for a tea party: Paul, a successful business man used to getting his own way; Diana, his suspicious and ever-vigilant wife; John – father to baby Wayne – aware that Paul’s eyes, and more, have strayed towards his monosyllabic wife, Evelyn; and finally, Di’s friend Marge who is blissfully unaware of the tensions around her.

The tea party has been organised by Di in an attempt to cheer up long-time friend Colin, whose fiancée has just drowned. But Colin doesn’t need cheering up, he is happy, optimistic and delighted to see his old friends, whilst all of them quickly realise that it is they who are drowning – in frustrated lives, vanished dreams, provincial secrets and middle-aged angst.

Absent Friends is Ayckbourn at his very best: the hilarious moments on stage are juxtaposed with insightful and heart-wrenching home truths, whilst the minutiae of suburbia provides the realistic background. A stellar cast, under the direction of Ann Ellison, brings the play to sparkling life, reminding us all that Ayckbourn is one of Britain’s greatest living comedy playwrights.

Ayckbourn, in-the-round, is what Next Stage Theatre Company does best, faithfully and joyfully interpreting the work of its illustrious patron. Don’t miss this production, the company’s 23rd Ayckbourn play in its 23rd birthday year. Come alone, or come in a group, after all, as Marge so succinctly says:

“There are worse ways of spending the time. Than sitting peacefully with your friends. Nice to sit with your friends now and again. Nice…” (Act 2)

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