Painfully funny tale comes to city venue


London Classic Theatre is to present the Alan Ayckbourn play Absent Friends at Derby Theatre, from July 7-11.

Absent Friends is one of Ayckbourn’s finest and funniest plays.

Summer 1974. A well-intentioned tea party descends into chaos.

Wealthy, unfulfilled housewife Diana arranges a gathering of oldfriends to cheer up bereaved Colin, whose fiancée drowned two months earlier.

Paul, her bullying, self-absorbed husband, has recently had a dalliance with Evelyn, the glamorous wife of his friend and incompetent business associate, John.

The party is completed by long-suffering Marge, who has left Gordon, her hypochondriac spouse, ailing at home.

Preparations for the party spark tensions and open old wounds.

As lingering resentments and deep-rooted jealousies surface, an unexpectedly cheerful Colin strolls into the mayhem.

Acerbic and painfully funny, Absent Friends explores friendship, marriage and what it ultimately means to be happy.

In one of his finest plays, Ayckbourn’s craftsmanship and acute social observation have never been sharper or more biting.

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright who has written 78 plays, more than half of which have been produced in London’s West End, as well as around the world.

Notable successes include Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Relatively Speaking, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and Communicating Doors.

With 31 critically-acclaimed productions since their debut in April 2000, London Classic Theatre has established a reputation for producing bold, imaginative work of the highest quality.

Absent Friends celebrates LCT’s 15th anniversary as a touring company.

Absent Friends is directed by Michael Cabot, designed by Simon Kenny with lighting designed by Andy Grace.

The cast includes Ashley Cook, John Dorney, Kevin Drury, Catherine Harvey, Kathryn Ritchie and Alice Selwyn.

Tickets are £11-£25.50. For more information and to book tickets call the box office on 01332 593939 or online at

n Agatha Christie fans will be looking forward to a touring production of And Then There Was None, which comes to Derby Theatre from November 9-14.

Marking the tenth anniversary od the The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, it stars Paul Nicholas, Deborah Grant (Not Going Out, Bergerac), and Colin Buchanan (Dalziel and Pascoe) in the Queen of Crime’s ingenious thriller, her best selling novel since its release in 1939.

Ten strangers are lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon, where things soon start to go from bad to worse for them. Call 01332 593939 for ticket details.