Strong production, fine acting and great humour

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Absurd Person Singular - Lowther Pavilion

Way back in 1972 Alan Ayckbourn introduced us to the now familiar format of his dramas – contrasting couples, same situation, different times – with one of his funniest and most acclaimed plays, Absurd Person Singular.

Forty years on The Anonymous Players showed us in an accomplished performance that the craft and the humour are wearing well.

The strength of Bob Gemmell’s production is fine acting.

Alan Lucas’s splendid Brummie accent is ideal for the nerdy but upwardly mobile Sidney, with Bernadette Scully nicely homely as wife Jane.

Karen Jackson, the neurotic Eva, is especially comical in the second act, despite having no lines at all, as she attempts suicide in a variety of ways. Andy Cooke, as her self-centred and disagreeable husband Geoffrey, does well in the play’s most unrewarding role.

The best lines and action are all with Rosemary Roe as the sozzled and nose-in-the air Marion.

She makes the most of it, with Alf Betts suitably supportive as her straight man Ronald.

The farcical finale of act two is hilarious but, because Ayckbourn does not significantly develop his characters, the end of act three does not reach the same level.

Consequently the play ends amusingly, but a little lamely.

An appreciative audience enjoyed the both quality of the acting and Ayckbourn’s special ability to find humour in domestic trivia, strained relationships and, here, in an off-stage dog called George.

Continues until Saturday