Following the postponement of their 20th anniversary season, London Classic Theatre today announce the return of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular at Theatre Royal Bath which was postponed in March. Directed by Michael Cabot, returning to their roles are John Dorney (Geoffrey Jackson), Felicity Houlbrooke (Jane Hopcroft), Helen Keeley (Eva Jackson), Rosanna Miles (Marion Brewster-Wright), Graham O’Mara (Ronald Brewster-Wright) and Paul Sandys (Sidney Hopcroft). The production opens on 10 February, with preview from 9 February, and runs until 20 February ahead of a rescheduled Spring/Summer tour, with full details to be announced.
Artistic Director Michael Cabot said today “After a difficult year, we are delighted that Theatre Royal Bath have invited us to be part of their new season. We had to postpone our 2020 tour of Absurd Person Singular after only three weeks on the road, which left us in a perilous position. Since then, we haven’t received any support from either the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund or the Culture Recovery Fund, so it has been an extremely challenging few months. This two-week run at Bath feels like a genuine lifeline and the first step on the road to recovery for us. Our cast and stage management team have been incredibly loyal and are all looking forward to getting the show back on stage.”
Three married couples. Three kitchens. Three Christmas parties.
Sidney Hopcroft, a small-time tradesman, persuades wife Jane to throw a party hoping to find favour with a bank manager and local architect. As celebrations begin, class differences and naked ambition combine to hilarious effect as, one by one, the characters seek refuge in Jane’s kitchen.
Over the next two years, the Jacksons and Brewster-Wrights take turns to host festivities. But Sidney’s star has begun to rise and roles are increasingly reversed as the cracks in the other couples’ marriages begin to show.
Absurd Person Singular first premièred in 1972 and was awarded the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award.
Alan Ayckbourn is an award-winning playwright. His theatre credits include The Norman Conquests (Evening Standard Best Play Award and Tony Award For Best Revival Of A Play), Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves (Evening Standard Best Play Award), A Chorus of Disapproval (Olivier Award for Best Comedy and Evening Standard Best Comedy Award), Woman in Mind, A Small Family Business (Evening Standard Best Play Award), Henceforward (Evening Standard Best Comedy Award), Man of the Moment (Evening Standard Best Comedy Award), House & Garden and Private Fears in Public Places, among others.
John Dorney plays Geoffrey Jackson. Previous credits for the company include Hysteria, Absent Friends, The Caretaker and Humble Boy. Other theatre credits include Flight, Peter Pan (National Theatre), Better Watch Out (Hampstead Theatre), At the Back, Out of Focus (Soho Theatre), Volpone (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Stranger (Southwark Playhouse), A-Team: The Musical (Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh), Coalition (Pleasance, Edinburgh and Islington) and Seasons Greetings (Union Theatre).
Felicity Houlbrooke plays Jane Hopcroft. Previous credits for the company include My Mother Said I Never Should and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other theatre credits include Hard Times (Oldham Coliseum), The Railway Children (King’s Cross Theatre), Echoes (Arcola Theatre) The King’s Speech (Chichester Festival Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Black Coffee (UK tour), The Diary of Anne Frank (York Theatre Royal/UK tour) and Gore (Charing Cross Theatre).
Helen Keeley plays Eva Jackson. Previous credits for the company include Private Lives and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other theatre credits The Picture of Dorian Gray (Trafalgar Studios/UK tour), Yap Yap Yap (Battersea Arts Centre), Half, To the End (Southwark Playhouse) and A Summer Day’s Dream (Finborough Theatre).
Rosanna Miles plays Marion Brewster-Wright. Previous theatre credits include Below Stairs (Arts Theatre), The Crucible (UK tour), When Holly Met Ivy (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), Cinderella (Winchester Theatre Royal), Walking the Tightrope (Arcola Theatre), Beyond Nora (Exeter Northcott Theatre), Le Jardin (Bath Theatre Royal) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (UK tour). Television credits include The Grimleys, Teachers and Specials.
Graham O’Mara plays Ronald Brewster-Wright. Previous credits for the company include No Man’s Land. Other theatre credits include Government Inspector and The Three Musketeers (Young Vic), Borders (Arcola Theatre), Fatzer: Downfall of an Egoist (North Wall Arts Centre), Punts and Cans (Theatre503), BU21 (Trafalgar Studios), Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Wind in the Willows (Storyhouse, Chester), Sense and Sensibility (The Watermill Theatre), Alice (Sheffield Theatres), A Man of Letters (Orange Tree Theatre) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds). For television his credits include Friday Night Dinner, Sirens and The Queen: 1974.
Paul Sandys plays Sidney Hopcroft. Previous credits for the company include Private Lives, Entertaining Mr Sloane and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other theatre credits include Peter Pan (New Vic Theatre) and Friend or Foe (UK tour). For television his credits include Apple Tree House and for film, his credits include The Sprint King.
Michael Cabot directs and is the founder and Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre. He has directed all forty-one LCT productions since their touring debut in 2000, including No Man’s Land, My Mother Said I Never Should, Private Lives, Hysteria, The Birthday Party, Waiting for Godot, Absent Friends, Entertaining Mr Sloane and Equus. His freelance work as director includes three recent collaborations with award-winning playwright Henry Naylor, The Collector (Arcola Theatre), Angel and Borders (Edinburgh Festival Fringe).
This revival of Ayckbourn’s seminal play will be staged in a Covid safe environment following government advice and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
London Classic Theatre present
ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR
Written by Alan Ayckbourn
9 – 20 February 2021
Press Night: Wednesday 10 February, 7.30pm, Theatre Royal Bath
Directed by Michael Cabot; Set design by Simon Scullion; Costume design by Kate Lyons
Lighting design by Andy Grange