London Classic Theatre in anniversary tour of Ayckbourn and Beckett

Absent Friends

London Classic Theatre is toasting its 15th anniversary season with national tours of Absent Friends and Waiting for Godot.

LCT artistic director Michael Cabot says that the productions will be their most ambitious programme to date.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends takes the party on the road, opening at Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne in April, while you must wait until autumn for Samuel Beckett’s Godot.

Cabot said: “I am thrilled announce our 15th Anniversary Season – Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which will tour simultaneously later this year, enabling us to reach a wider audience than ever before.

“It’s our most ambitious programme to date, and a model that we aim to recreate as we move forward with our plans for the company.

“It’s testament to the small and dedicated team at LCT that we have come so far in 15 years, completely without subsidy or sponsorship, and we look forward to our plans for 2015 which see us return to venues who have nurtured our work, while also embarking on new collaborations.”

LCT operates completely without subsidy and is committed to producing top quality, challenging and accessible drama.

They stage both classic and modern classic plays, bringing an inventive, varied repertoire to audiences across the UK and Ireland.

Michael Cabot launched London Classic Theatre as a touring company in April 2000. Their first production, David Mamet’s Oleanna, opened in the 130-seat studio at Harrow Arts Centre.

Over the last 15 years, they have performed to more than 350,000 people at 200 theatres and arts centres around the UK and Ireland.

Absent Friends is set in the summer of 1974 and revolves around a well-intentioned tea party that 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.

Waiting For Godot is one of theatre’s great classics, throwing up as many questions as answers.

A country road. A tree. Evening. Vladimir and Estragon meet as dusk approaches. Estragon tries to remove his boot. Vladimir examines his hat. A conversation begins, a joke is interrupted. A carrot is eaten. The two men quarrel, then embrace.

A pair of eccentric travellers arrive. Seemingly master and servant, one stands weighed down at the end of a long rope, the other carries a whip.

So begins Samuel Beckett’s 60-year-old masterpiece, a ground-breaking, anarchic meditation on the meaning of life and death.

Part allegory, part burlesque, Beckett’s unique, timeless play moves seamlessly between absurdist comic sketch and captivating philosophical drama.

Absent Friends Tour Dates

April 28-May 2, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
May 5-9, Grand Theatre, Blackpool
May 11-13, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
May 14-16, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
May 19-20, Civic Theatre, Chelmsford
May 21-23, Theatre Royal, Winchester
May 26-27, King’s Theatre, Southsea
May 28-30, Connaught Theatre, Worthing
June 1-6, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
June 8-13, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
June 15-20, Richmond Theatre
June 22-24, Lyceum Crewe
June 25-27, Greenwich Theatre
June 30-July 1, Theatre Royal, Margate
July 2-4, Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
July 6-11, Derby Theatre
July 13-18, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Waiting For Godot listings to be announced.

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