Absent Friends at the The Mission Theatre, Bath

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Posted on 6th September 2017

Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn

Next Stage production directed by Ann Ellison

The Mission Theatre, Bath

September 5th to 9th, 7.30pm: matinee 2.00pm Saturday 9th

Although written in 1974, this production feels quite contemporary. Perhaps bittersweet domestic dysfunction is always with us and that human condition is one which Ayckbourn has always been able to nail.

 Colin’s fiancee has drowned recently so his friends rally round and invite him to a tea party, thinking to cheer him up. However, the boot is really on the other foot; it's their lives that are in freefall to disaster while Colin remains cheerfully content with his lot.

 Monosyllabic Evelyn has just had a disappointing fling with host Paul, a serial philanderer and bully.  When asked about it by friend Marge, Evelyn explains, “If you want to know who else, pass me the phone book ‘cos he's half way through yellow pages by now.”

 Marge’s unseen husband is usually ill, while Paul's put upon wife Diana is gradually building up to a breakdown while Evelyn’s twitchy other half, John, accepts her infidelity as part of normal life.  Meanwhile oblivious Colin chatters on, eating his sandwiches and putting his proverbial foot in it. 

 It is a perfect production where the cast never strike a wrong note.  If you like Ayckbourn you'll love this.

Philip Horton 


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