Playwright Alan Ayckbourn returned to the West End last night (11 December 2007, previews from 27 November) care of an all-star revival of Ayckbourn’s 1972 comedy Absurd Person Singular, which is booking for a limited season at the Garrick Theatre (See News, 6 Nov 2007). This new production is the first Ayckbourn in the West End since the start of the playwright’s self-imposed moratorium in 2002.

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.

The three couples are played by David Bamber, Jane Horrocks, John Gordon Sinclair, Lia Williams, David Horovitch and Jenny Seagrove. The production is directed by Alan Strachan, designed by Michael Pavelka and presented by Bill Kenwright Ltd.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the Absurd Person Singular curtain call at the Garrick Theatre.

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.

- by Terri Paddock