Devonshire Park Theatre

Thursday 15 – Saturday 24 June 7.45pm, matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm

Popular comedy drama Absent Friends, written by Olivier and Tony Award winning British playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, comes to the Devonshire Park Theatre, 15 – 24 June.  This latest production, from producers phil&Ben, stays faithful to this classic comedy promising all the1970s social nuances and trademark toe-curling humour. 

Of his 89 full length plays, Absent Friends remains an Ayckbourn favourite with new and returning audiences alike. It is a great example of his wry wit and his sense of the humour in awkward scenarios.

The drama unfolds when Colin, a friend who has been absent, comes back to his circle of friends and they are worried about how to approach him over the death of his fiancée, Carol, who has drowned. Diana organizes a tea party for Colin’s arrival. Interrelationship tensions soon become apparent and are near erupting when Colin arrives, heightening the tension when they all work to appear friendly towards him.

The party progresses while the middle-aged friends reveal the misery and failure of their own relationships. As it turns out, the mourning guest Colin becomes the one responsible for comforting everyone else!

The play, set firmly in the 1970s, beautifully depicts nostalgia, lovelessness and social awkwardness and weaves them all together with some of Ayckbourn’s sharpest dialogue to hilarious effect.

The production is the first of three phil&ben productions coming to the Devonshire Park this summer, the production team who have been responsible for hit shows including Don’t Dress for Dinner and Boeing Boeing previously at the Devonshire Park.

Absent Friends, an Alan Ayckbourn comedy plays at the Devonshire Park Theatre Thursday 15 – Saturday 24 June. Tickets £20 – £27.50. Under 25s tickets £15, Under 16s and Student tickets £10, Concession and Group discounts available. Book online at eastbournetheatres.co.uk or call Box Office on 01323 412000.