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Review: 'Absurd Person Singular' at Sheringham Little Theatre

PUBLISHED: 08:21 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:21 12 August 2019

From left, Lesley Ann Acheson as Eva and Lauren Verrier as Jane in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi Sapey

From left, Lesley Ann Acheson as Eva and Lauren Verrier as Jane in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi Sapey

Andi Sapey

Alan Ayckbourn is well-known for spinning comedy gold from the dull threads of surburban banality and 'Absurd Person Singular' at Sheringham's Little Theatre on Friday night was no exception.

From left, Lauren Verrier as Jane, Jenny Johns as Marion, and Andrew Laithwaite as Sidney in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi SapeyFrom left, Lauren Verrier as Jane, Jenny Johns as Marion, and Andrew Laithwaite as Sidney in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi Sapey

Alan Ayckbourn is well-known for spinning comedy gold from the dull threads of surburban banality and 'Absurd Person Singular' at Sheringham's Little Theatre on Friday night was no exception.

The tale of three couples sharing three consecutive Christmas Eves was beautifully constructed by director Simon Thompson with imaginative set changes and the support of an expert ensemble cast.

Andrew Laithwaite (as Sidney) and Lauren Verrier (Jane) led the line admirably, cheerily negotiating 20th century gender politics, the nature of relationships and the pursuit of status; while the charismatic Kyle Fraser (Geoffrey) and silently desolate Lesley Ann Acheson (Eva) were entertainingly joined by the solid but sad David Tarkenter (Ronald) and blatantly bibulous Jenny Johns (Marion).

This play in three parts covered a lot of ground and successfully explored the banal, the darkly comic, the tragic, and the ridiculous. Perhaps the main theme was 'Who dances to whose tune?' and the finale remained hilariously true to that theme.

Lauren Verrier as Jane in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi SapeyLauren Verrier as Jane in Absurd Person Singular at Sheringham Little Theatre. Picture: Andi Sapey

A thororoughly entertaining and funny show with depth and many echoes of the early 1970s (from when the play premiered) in attitude, costumes and set. The audience loved the show and there were plenty of smiles on faces as they departed into the night.

(Interestingly I couldn't work out why the play was called 'Absurd Person Singular'. Does it refer to one of the characters? Or something more abstract? Fortunately after checking Mr Ayckbourn's website an explanation was forthcoming. The website says: 'The title was plucked from an earlier abandoned play which had apparently come to him (Ayckbourn) whilst in an elevator and ambiguous enough to suit whatever play he would eventually write. As a result, 'Absurd Person Singular''s title has no connection to the actual play despite many clever suggestions over the years as to its meaning. Ultimately it is little more than a stock title.' I hope this helps.)

'Absurd Person Singular' runs until Saturday, August 17. Tickets £9.80 - £21 available online or by telephone on 01263 822347.

SLT's Summer Theatre season continues with James Cawood's 'Sunkissed' (21st - 28th August) and The Goodale Brothers' 'Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense' (30th August - 4th September)

CHRIS SADLER

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