REVIEW: Absent Friends, Sheringham Little Theatre
Sheringham Little Theatre,
Summer Rep Company
Whoever said there's no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea had obviously not seen this Alan Ayckbourn 'light' comedy.
In truth it's less of a comedy than a mash up of middle class angst and broken dreams sweetened with lumps of humour and ridicule.
Set in the 1970s, Absent Friends centres on a tea party hosted by an increasingly neurotic Diana (Annie Julian) to provide support for Colin (Nick Earnshaw) who is supposed to be grieving the tragic loss of his fianc�e. But it soon becomes clear that the play is not so much about the death of a loved one but the death of love itself.
- 1 'Once in a lifetime catch' - man lands monster fish in Norfolk
- 2 Council leader arrested after suspected drink driving on Christmas Day
- 3 Music-loving dad whose ashes were fired into festival crowd took own life
- 4 Norfolk man amongst UK's 12 most wanted
- 5 Doctors baffled by teenager's horrific long Covid symptoms
- 6 Meet the new team behind revamped village pub
- 7 Woman in 40s airlifted to hospital after suffering medical emergency
- 8 Seven of the oldest Norfolk businesses
- 9 One person taken to hospital after three-car crash on A47
- 10 Revealed: Travelodge behind multi-million pound hotel development
Partygoers include Paul (Andrew Williams), who has had an affair with Evelyn (Sarah Langton), the gum-chewing, eyebrow-raising bored wife of business partner John (William Hartley), and Diana, Paul's wife.
And then there's the "saintly" Marge, played by Romily Turner who is obviously a fan of that great comedienne Joyce Grenfell.
It all comes to a head when Diana has a hysterical breakdown – and Annie Julian's performance here is spine-chilling.
But comic relief keeps breaking through as the facial expressions and chauvinistic retorts of Hartley, Williams and Earnshaw help lift the tension.
A heady brew to be sure.