Magazine article The Spectator

CULTURE NOTES Unfinished Business

Magazine article The Spectator

CULTURE NOTES Unfinished Business

Article excerpt

Absent Friends is the least technically adventurous of Alan Ayckbourn's plays. Yet Jeremy Herrin's revival (Harold Pinter Theatre, booking until 14 April) seem s determined to display a all it's workings.

The fact that the action un fold s in real time is thrust in our face with a big clock on the back wall, and an even bigger one on the curtain (lest we forget during the interval).

Of the three couple s who meet for a reunion, one is flattened into a caricature , with David Armand overplaying John's fidgetiness, while Kara Tointon's Evelyn (above) take s taciturnity to an exhibitionistic extreme. And then each awkward conversational pause is held just enough seconds too long for it to seem that the play is acting the actor s , not the other way a round.

The reason for the reunion is Col in, played with comic brilliance by Reece Shearsmith as a mincing, baggy-trousered, lip-smacking know-it-all. …

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