Next Production - Spotlight Express

Absent Friends – 2001

Producer/ Director

Assistant Producer/ Director

Summary of the Plot and Characters

In this bitter-sweet, brilliant Ayckbourn comedy, a group of friends have invited recently bereaved Colin (played by Howard Dover) to tea organised by Diana (Jackie Bingham).

Due to his impending return his friends are worried about how to approach him over the death of his fiancée, Carol, who has drowned. 

Colin, far from being an abject widower, turns out to be a cheerful chappy who sees himself as having experienced the “perfect” relationship with his recently drowned fiancee, Carol.

He erroneously believes he knows more about others than they do about themselves. 

The characters are shown to have interrelationship tensions and this is near erupting when Colin arrives, heightening the tension when they all work to appear friendly towards him. However Colin seems euphorically happy while the rest of the party are near breaking point. 

In Act I Diana is concerned about whether her husband Paul (Steve Cant) is faithful or not. Deep down she knows he is not and has a feeling he is having a love affair with Evelyn (Sarah Morris). 

Evelyn’s husband John (Barry Parsons) is in business with Paul and knows that Paul and Evelyn have slept together but doesn’t say anything in fear of damaging business relations. 

The play unfolds and Colin’s arrival triggers Diana’s confrontation. She ends up pouring the cream on Paul and breaking down at the end of the play.