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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

Absent Friends production comes to West End

30th January 2012

Guests staying in luxury accommodation in London may be interested in attending the production of Absent Friends.

The play is currently on show at the Harold Pinter Theatre until April 14th, with performances taking place on Monday to Saturday at 19:30 GMT and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 14:30 GMT.

Absent Friends is a black comedy by Alan Ayckbourne starring Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen), Catherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), Kara Tointon (EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing), Elizabeth Berrington (Waterloo Road) and Steffan Rhodri (Gavin & Stacey).

The play contains themes of infidelity, jealousy and loathing, and revolves around the character Colin, played by Reece Shearsmith, who is invited by his married friends for a round of tea and sandwiches when his fiance dies.

Directed by Jeremy Herrin, Absent Friends received its premier in 1974 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, later coming to London's Garrick Theatre the following year.

The play is Herrin's latest production after Haunted Child, which opened at the Royal Court in December 2011 and Death and the Maiden, which recently closed at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Absent Friends marks Kara Tointon's return to the hallowed West End stage since starring in the production of Pygmalion alongside Rupert Everett last year.

Reece Shearsmith's other stage credits include Betty Blue Eyes, Ghost Stories and As You Like It, although he is perhaps best known to audiences for his appearance in dark TV comedies such as Psychoville and The League of Gentlemen.

Steffan Rhodri's other stage credits include the revival of the play Abigail's Party at the Hampstead Theatre, in which he starred opposite Absent Friends co-star Elizabeth Berrington.

Ayckbourne's The Norman Conquests was previously produced by the Sonia Friedman Production, which made it to New York's Broadway in 2009 following a sell-out run at London's Old Vic Theatre.

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