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    After her triumphant debut as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion earlier this year at the Garrick, Kara Tointon will be back in the West End from 26th January in Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

    Kara Tointon plays the role of Evelyn, wife of John who has had an affair with Paul, her husband's friend and employer.  As Paul and Diana host a tea party in an effort to make contact and console their friend Colin whose fiancée has recently died.  All the guests are actually more troubled and miserable than Colin leading to an awkward and bleakly funny tea party. 

    Directed by Jeremy Herrin and produced by Sonia Freedman, the revival also stars Reece Shearsmith, Katherine Parkinson, Elizabeth Berrington, Steffan Rhodri and David Armand.

    Reece Shearsmith has just finished starring in the Cameron Mackintosh musical Betty Blue Eyes and is best known from TV's League of Gentleman.

    Katherine Parkinson starred in Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings at the National Theatre last Christmas.

    Elizabeth Berrington is known from TV's Waterloo Road and recently starred in Abigail's Party at the Hampstead Theatre.

    Steffan Rhodri also starred opposite Berrington in Abigail's Party and is currently in The Kitchen Sink at the Bush Theatre.  TV viewers will know him hit comedy series Gavin & Stacey.

    David Armand co-starred in the recent St Trinian films and is the star of the BBC Series, How Not To Live Your Life.

    Written by Alan Ayckbourn in 1974, Absent Friends made it's debut in the West End at the Garrick Theatre in 1975 giving Ayckbourn five productions showing simultaneously in the West End, the record of most productions in West End at one time by any writer.

    In 1974 he was quoted as saying, "My latest play, Absent Friends, contains the double theme of death and the death of love. It also has a woman having a nervous breakdown. It's a comedy and people are laughing at it. Not I believe, in a cruel and heartless way, but with the laughter of understanding. Laughter in the theatre can be an amazing bridge. It can persuade people to keep their minds open long after their inherent prejudices have told them to close them."

    Book Absent Friends tickets online now.

    [posted by Louise, 13/11/2011]

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