Jane Horrocks (pictured) and John Gordon Sinclair – who appeared together in the 2003 West End revival of the Stephen Poliakoff thriller Sweet Panic at the Duke of York’s – are reuniting for a new production of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1972 comedy Absurd Person Singular, which is due to open for a limited season at the West End’s Garrick Theatre on 6 December 2007 (previews from 27 November). The all-star British cast, directed by Alan Strachan, will also feature David Bamber, David Horovitch, Jenny Seagrove and Lia Williams.

Absurd Person Singular visits three couples in their three kitchens on the Christmas Eves of three successive years: the lower-class Hopcrofts; their bank manager and his wife; and their architect neighbour with a suicidal wife. The Hopcrofts’ advance and the other couples’ decline are played out against a series of behind-the-scenes Christmas party disasters.

On stage, Jane Horrocks is best known for playing the diva-mimicking LV in Jim Cartwright's 1993 Olivier Award-winning comedy The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which she reprised in the 1998 film version, Little Voice. She's also a familiar screen face for her TV roles as Bubbles in Absolutely Fabulous and, earlier this year, the title character in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard. Her films include Life Is Sweet, Born Romantic and Memphis Belle.

In addition to Sweet Panic, John Gordon Sinclair’s stage credits include The Real Thing and Kafka's Dick as well as the musicals She Loves Me (for which he won an Olivier) and The Producers (for which he was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award). His screen credits include An Actor’s Life for Me and Nelson’s Column on television and, perhaps most memorably, the teen film Gregory's Girl, as well as its sequel.

David Bamber’s credits include The Soldier’s Fortune, Otherwise Engaged, The Glee Club, The Lisbon Traviata and My Night with Reg (for which he won an Olivier) on stage, and Rome, Daniel Deronda, I Capture the Castle and Pride and Prejudice on screen.

Jenny Seagrove was seen in the West End this summer in The Letter, also directed by Strachan, at Wyndham’s Theatre. Her many other West End credits include The Night of the Iguana, Secret Rapture, The Constant Wife, The Female Odd Couple, Brief Encounter and Hurlyburly. On TV, she’s well known as Jo Mills in Judge John Deed.

David Horovitch’s recent London stage credits include Mary Stuart, Losing Louis and Spinning into Butter. Lia Williams has just been seen this year in The Hothouse at the National and My Child at the Royal Court, while her other recent credits include As You Like It, Mappa Mundi and The Homecoming.

One of the most prolific playwrights in British history, Alan Ayckbourn has written more than 70 plays, most of them premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre where he was artistic director for 36 years. He stepped down earlier this year, following a debilitating stroke (See News, 4 Jun 2007). Since his first hit, Relatively Speaking opened at the Duke of York's in London in 1967, more than 25 of Ayckbourn's plays have subsequently been produced in the West End, at the National or the RSC. These include Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Bedroom Farce, A Small Family Business, A Chorus of Disapproval (which won the Olivier for Best Comedy in 1985), and more recently, Things We Do for Love, House and Garden, Comic Potential and the Damsels in Distress trilogy.

Currently at the Garrick, Bad Girls - The Musical, the stage adaptation of the long-running ITV drama of the same name which opened on 12 September 2007 (previews from 16 August), will now close on 17 November (See News, 5 Nov 2007).

- by Terri Paddock