Revival of Absent Friends By Alan Ayckbourn Opens at Harold Pinter Theatre in West End Feb. 9

News   Revival of Absent Friends By Alan Ayckbourn Opens at Harold Pinter Theatre in West End Feb. 9
 
Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, a 1974 play by the famed playwright, officially opens Feb. 9 at the Harold Pinter Theatre following previews that began Jan. 26.

Jeremy Herrin directs a cast that comprises David Armand, Elizabeth Berrington, Katherine Parkinson, Steffan Rhodri, Reece Shearsmith and Kara Tointon. It is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions and Bob Bartner.  Designs are by Tom Scutt with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.

Described as a comedy of manners and social embarrassment, it follows Colin (Shearsmith), whose married friends invite him round for comfort over tea and sandwiches after he loses his fiancée. But maybe Colin isn’t the one who needs help.

Shearsmith was last seen in the West End in the lead role of Gilbert Chivers in Betty Blue Eyes. Other West End credits include Ghost Stories and starring as Leo Bloom in The Producers. He is best known for being a quarter of the award-winning stage, TV and film comedy team The League of Gentlemen; he is also co-creator and writer of the BBC’s "Psychoville."

Parkinson, who plays Diana, is best known on television for playing Jen in the Channel 4 series "The IT Crowd," a role for which she won the British Comedy Best Actress Award.  She is soon to be seen on BBC 1 playing Conceptiva in "The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff" alongside Robert Webb. She was last seen on stage in the National's production of Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings last Christmas.

Berrington, who plays Marge, was last on stage playing Bev in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party at Hampstead Theatre and in the West End.  She will next be seen on television playing Paula in the BBC 1 Christmas Eve comedy "Lapland."  Other TV credits include "Waterloo Road," "Dr Who" and "Let Them Eat Cake." Tointon, who plays Evelyn, was most recently seen in the West End in Pygmalion opposite Rupert Everett. She is best known for playing Dawn Swann in TV's "EastEnders" for four years, and for winning the 2010 series of "Strictly Come Dancing."

Rhodri, who plays Paul, is best known on TV for playing Dave Coaches in Gavin and Stacey. He was last seen in the West End in Clybourne Park. He was recently seen in the Bush Theatre production of The Kitchen Sink.

Armand, who plays John, is best known for his roles in the TV sketch shows "Sorry I've Got No Head" and "Fast and Loose."

Herrin, who is associate director at the Royal Court, was most recently represented there by Haunted Child. Last summer he directed Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe, and in 2012 he will also direct Matthew Dunster's Children's Children at the Almeida.

To book tickets contact the box office on 0844 8717622 or visit www.absentfriendstheplay.com.   

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