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Full Cast Announced London Classic Theatre's ABSENT FRIENDS

Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre Michael Cabot today announces the full cast for the company's production of Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends as part of their 15th Anniversary season. Cabot directs Ashley Cook (Colin), John Dorney (John), Kevin Drury (Paul), Catherine Harvey (Diana), Kathryn Ritchie (Evelyn) and Alice Selwyn (Marge). The tour opens at Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne with a press night on 29 April and will tour to a total of 16 venues. There will be a second press night at Richmond Theatre on 15 June.

Summer 1974. A well-intentioned tea party descends into chaos.

Wealthy, unfulfilled housewife Diana arranges a gathering of old friends to cheer up bereaved Colin, whose fiancée drowned two months earlier. Paul, her bullying, self-absorbed husband, has recently had a dalliance with Evelyn, the glamorous wife of his friend and incompetent business associate, John. The party is completed by long-suffering Marge, who has left Gordon, her hypochondriac spouse, ailing at home.

Preparations for the party spark tensions and open old wounds. As lingering resentments and deep-rooted jealousies surface, an unexpectedly cheerful Colin strolls into the mayhem.

Acerbic and painfully funny, Absent Friends explores friendship, marriage and what it ultimately means to be happy. In one of his finest plays, Ayckbourn's craftsmanship and acute social observation have never been sharper or more biting.

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright who has written 78 plays, more than half of which have been produced in London's West End as well as around the world. Some of his best known work includes Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Relatively Speaking, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and Communicating Doors.

Ashley Cook plays Colin. His theatre credits for London Classic Theatre include The Importance of Being Earnest. His other credits include King Lear (Old Vic/English Touring Theatre), The Mousetrap (St. Martin's Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Belgrade Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Derby Theatre), A Doll's House and The Importance of Being Earnest (Lincoln Theatre Royal), She Stoops to Conquer and The Daughter-in-Law (Perth Theatre), The White Carnation (Finborough Theatre/ Jermyn Street Theatre), F***ing Men (Finborough Theatre), The Art of Concealment and How to Cook a Country (Riverside Studios) and The Bootmaker's Daughter (Brighton Festival). His television credits include The Basil Brush Show and Patrick Hamilton: Words, Whisky and Women.

John Dorney plays John. His theatre credits for London Classic Theatre include Humble Boy and The Caretaker Flight. His other acting credits include Peter Pan (National Theatre), Something Beginning With... (The Orange Tree), Feelgood (English Speaking Theatre of Vienna and English Speaking Theatre of Frankfurt), Better Watch Out (Hampstead Theatre), At the Back and Out of Focus (Soho Theatre), Volpone (Wilton's Music Hall), The Revenger's Tragedy and The Stranger (Southwark Playhouse), A-Team: The Musical (Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh), Coalition (Pleasance Edinburgh and Islington), Beauty and the Beast (Creation, Oxford), On the High Road (RADA Studios) and Seasons Greetings (Union Theatre).

Kevin Drury plays Paul. His theatre credits for London Classic Theatre include The Game of Love and Chance, The Double Inconstancy, Look Back in Anger and Closer and his other credits include Romeo and Juliet, The Pastoral Symphony, The Killing Game and A Touch of Danger (UK tours), and Marat/Sade (Arcola Theatre). His television credits include Dalziel & Pascoe. Kevin has recently finished shooting a pilot for the sitcom Dead Man's Cardy.

Catherine Harvey plays Diana. Her theatre credits for London Classic Theatre include Humble Boy and Nightfall. Her other stage credits include Geisha Girls and Bush Bazaar (Bush Theatre), 17 and Quality Street (Finborough Theatre), Ring of Truth and Alison's House (Orange Tree), New Views (National Theatre), The Comedy Project (Soho Theatre), Les Enfants du Paradis (Arcola Theatre), An Ideal Husband (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Pericles (Ludlow Theatre), Deirdre of the Sorrows (Riverside Studios) and Charley's Aunt (Norwich Theatre Royal). Her television credits include Partners in Crime, Safe House, Restless, Where the Heart Is, Judge John Deed, Red Dwarf and for film; Wing and a Prayer and Oscar and Lucinda.

Kathryn Ritchie plays Evelyn. Her work for London Classic Theatre includes After Miss Julie. Her other stage work includes The 39 Steps, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dear Brutus and Little Shop of Horrors (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Torch Theatre) and the original cast of The Railway Children (Waterloo Station, York Theatre Royal/The Touring Consortium). Her film credits include Borrowed Memories.

Alice Selwyn plays Marge. Her theatre credits for London Classic Theatre include Abigail's Party and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Her other stage work includes Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi (Jagged Fence), The Love Girl and the Innocent (Southwark Playhouse), Friday Night Sex (Royal Court), The Village Bike (Sheffield Crucible), A Christmas Carol (Hull Truck), 1984 (Royal Exchange), The Mechanism (Nabokov), Still.Blue.Sky (Liverpool Everyman), Project E - An Explosion, Project D - I'm Mediocre, Project C - On Principle, Project B (Tristan Bates/ BAC, Work Theatre Collective), All the Right People Come Here (Recorded Delivery), Absolutely! (Perhaps) (Wyndham's Theatre), Speed the Plow (Broadway Theatre), Party Piece (Newcastle Playhouse), Dog Well Done (Edinburgh Festival), The Mousetrap (European Tour), Charlie Sexboots (Man in the Moon) and In My Shoes (Finborough Theatre). Her television credits include Heatwave, Murder in Mind, London's Burning, Holding the Baby, It's About Time, Sonograph, Matinee and Jack Be Nimble.

Artistic Director Michael Cabot directs. Michael Cabot's touring productions (2000-2015) include Entertaining Mr Sloane, Betrayal, The Importance of Being Earnest, Equus, Ghosts, After Miss Julie, The Caretaker, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Humble Boy, Abigail's Party, Nightfall, The Double Inconstancy, Old Times, Love in the Title, Frozen, Closer, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Molly Sweeney, The Killing of Sister George, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Look Back in Anger, The Game of Love and Chance, My Mother Said I Never Should and Oleanna. Other credits include Pera Palas (Arcola), The Power of Love (Southwark Playhouse), Marat/Sade (Arcola), Tattoo (New Grove), and most recently, a critically-acclaimed staging of Henry Naylor's The Collector at the Arcola, which previously won a Fringe First at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

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