Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourns from 26-Oct to 13-Nov 2010

After the success of Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions at the same address last year (“A solid, funny and detailed production that makes for a very enjoyable night out.”   SE1), The Union Theatre, nominated Best Venue at the Broadwayworld.com Awards, presents Alan Ayckbourn’s classic.

Absent Friends remains one of Alan Ayckbourn’s most significant plays of the 1970s. It is the first play which is undoubtedly of the tragi-comedy genre that Alan Ayckbourn is most associated with and it clearly demonstrated that he required no more than six people in a room to create captivating and challenging drama.

A group of friends offer tea and sympathy to Colin, whose fiancée has recently drowned. Everybody skirts around the reason for the invitation except Colin, who is blissful in the memory of the time he spent with her; annoyingly happy in fact. His (apparent) satisfaction with his life highlights the depths to which all those around have sunk and so, duty-bound, he goes about healing their wounds.

A light comedy of manners and morals, honed with acute social observation, riddled with embarrassing situations, dusted with brittle wit. Absent Friends is not just black comedy – which is usually funnier than gloomy – but bleak comedy, cold, hard and ruthless.

CONFUSIONS, Union Theatre 2009

  “Ayckbourn somehow manages to make well-tried ploys seem fresh and Ben De Wynter’s production cleverly orchestrates the business and tunes the timing and it works without revealing the well-oiled clockwork.” – British Theatre Guide

Having recently directed A Man of No Importance, which transferred from The Union to The Arts Theatre earlier this year, award-winning director, Ben De Wynter is delighted to be tackling the intricacies of this Ayckbourn.

Cast includes Giles Fagan, Andrew Obeney, Shaun Stone, Gillian McCafferty, Olivia Busby and Fiona Gordon.