See Ayckbourn's Absent Friends and get up to 28% off from 26th Jan - 2nd March 2012 performances

Posted: 11th January 2012

One of Britain's foremost playwrights and theatre directors, Alan Ayckbourn, has been prolifically writing plays since the late fifties, dealing essentially with the failures and foibles commonly associated with middle-class married life. His career has been something of a critical rollercoaster with every lean period balanced out with a run of successes, none more so than in the seventies. The award-winning 'Absurd Person Singular', 'The Norman Conquests' and popular 'Bedroom Farce' all succeeded where his ill-conceived musical collaboration with Andrew Lloyd-Webber ('Jeeves' based on the P.G. Wodehouse character) failed.

In amongst the hit Ayckbourn plays of the lucrative seventies sits 'Absent Friends', a comedic play that also dealt with marriage, affairs and damaged relationships. It premiered in the West End at the Garrick Theatre in 1975 (after a spell in Scarborough) and was a likely influence on the erudite and dandy Neil Hannon's Divine Comedy album of the same name.

The plot centres on a tea-party organized by Diana for Colin, a friend of her husband Paul who has recently lost his fiancée in a tragic accident. Invited friends have reservations about attending what could potentially be a disaster - thus the relationships between the characters begin to unravel. Painfully.

This new version at the Harold Pinter Theatre features an all-star cast, including David Armand (Armstrong and Miller), Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Whites), Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen), Kara Tointon (Eastenders), Elizabeth Berrington (In Bruges, Waterloo Road) and Steffan Rhodri (Gavin and Stacey).

With a line-up like that, seats are bound to get snapped up when the show opens on 26th January - even better for you, we have discounted tickets available for selected stalls and balcony seats.

The Special Offer is: book selected tickets to see 'Absent Friends' from 26th January until 2nd March inclusive and get up to 28% off the standard price, e.g. stalls priced at £49.50 are reduced to £42.50 and balcony seats priced at £25 are reduced to £18.

The offer applies to selected shows Monday to Friday, including some matinees. Click on the Book This Offer button for details and tickets.

We also have links to tempting dinner and show packages - you can combine a two-course meal at Prezzo Haymarket with either a balcony seat (normally worth £25) for just £27.50 or a stalls or dress circle seat (normally worth £49.50) for just £55 each. Click on the Meal Deal button for details and tickets.