Absent Friends

Alan Ayckbourn

Absent Friends

When Colin loses his fiancée, his married friends invite him round for comfort over tea and sandwiches. As the tea starts to pour, it's clear that trouble is brewing with a wickedly funny blend of jealousy, infidelity and barely concealed loathing. Tension starts to boil and maybe Colin isn't the one who needs help... with friends like these, who needs enemies? 3.7 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
Absent Friends

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Harold Pinter Theatre
Director Jeremy Herrin
Cast Elizabeth Berrington, Katherine Parkinson, Steffan Rhodri, Reece Shearsmith, Kara Tointon David Armand
From January 2012
Until April 2012
Box Office 0844 871 7622
 

When Colin loses his fiancée, his married friends invite him round for comfort over tea and sandwiches. As the tea starts to pour, it's clear that trouble is brewing with a wickedly funny blend of jealousy, infidelity and barely concealed loathing. Tension starts to boil and maybe Colin isn't the one who needs help... with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

Every last scintilla of comedy is extracted from Ayckbourn's script. Although this isn't the most complex of pieces, Herrin finds layers of desolation in it. The result is a fine blend of the comic and the painful.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Sarah Hemming

Painfully good, [a] pointedly cruel revival.

12/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Michael Billington

Because Ayckbourn is always there, and because he has written some 75 plays, we tend to take him for granted. But this play, in which the action takes place in real time, displays not only his technical adroitness but his psychological understanding of the havoc created by the happily well-meaning. It is also fitting to see Ayckbourn staged at the Harold Pinter since the two worked together, had a high regard for each other, and increasingly look like modern masters.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

Britain has changed since the Seventies. No bereaved person would get through the door these days without being hugged and counselled and oohed over. This being the middle-class of 1974, however, Colin is treated with a reserve which today’s younger audiences may find unbelievable. Were we really once so embarrassed by grief? Possibly not quite.

13/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Observer

Kate Kellaway

Director Jeremy Herrin presides over the tea party with aplomb and knows exactly when to stir.

19/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

There are some wonderful moments of black comedy, especially when Elizabeth Berrington’s gauche Marge remarks that though she doesn’t like her tea strong, she doesn’t want it drowned. But the overriding impression is of pain and festering marital resentments, with the men as the clear villains of the piece.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


Time Out

Caroline McGinn

It begins as kitsch sitcom. But its precision, understanding and deepening awfulness help it erupt emotionally beyond its genre boundaries, mingling laughter and tears.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Times

Libby Purves

This fine, Chekhovian study in emotional constipation belongs absolutely to its time, and much of the laughter is mirth tinged with relief. Today, we think, most people know that the bereaved do not need “cheering up” with chatty evasions and that it is good to share memories of the dead.

12/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Touchingly mournful as well as comic.

12/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Stage

Nicholas Hamilton

Despite the impressive contribution of all involved, it is hard to overlook the inherent flatness of the play. The characters, their quirks and their relationships are too quickly established. Within half an hour, it is quite clear who is sleeping with whom, how the friends feel about one another and how they have decided to deal with their situations. In the absence of a transformative narrative, the characters do little more than become entrenched in these positions.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent

Paul Taylor

Full of amusing gaffes that demonstrate our nervousness aboutdeath, the play is weakened by a back story that does not, to my mind, add up and by the steroetypical nature of the characters. But Reece Shearsmith. looking like the love-child of Eric Morecambe and Ronnie Corbett, is in glorious form as Colin, all bouncy born-again brightness and car-crash concern.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


The Daily Express

Simon Edge

In an era when X Factor contestants routinely sob their hearts out and most people can’t stop talking about their feelings this rigid English chilliness seems horribly dated – if it ever existed at all.

10/02/2012

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore