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Absurd Person Singular review at St Edmunds Hall Southwold

Winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best New Comedy in 1975, Ayckbourn’s play is a bitingly funny take on keeping up with the Joneses – or in this case, the Ronnie and Marions. The bite from Jill Freud & Co’s production left a suitably marked impression.

Richard Emerson was almost unrecognisable as the Brylcreemed, besuited Sidney. His pompous attitude towards the attempts of wife Jane, played with restraint by Louise Shuttleworth, to create the perfect middle class home is delivered superbly. It is a spot on interpretation of the small minded approach of those of us hell bent on betterment at all costs.

Visual gags and sharp delivery keep the humour flowing smoothly and provide a platform for Jonathan Jones to demonstrate bank manager Ronnie’s snootiness. He is supported by Patience Tomlinson, who gives a hilarious performance as his sozzled wife Marion.

Although the tempo slackens off in Act III, this tight-knit cast of six, evidently enjoying themselves, refuse to let the tension between their characters dissipate.

All in all a fine production with some great performances and three wonderfully observed sets by Maurice Rubens. A singularly excellent way for Jill Freud and Company’s 2004 season to finish.

Production Information

St Edmund’s Hall, Southwold , August 30-September 11

Author
Alan Ayckbourn
Director
Richard Frost
Producer
Jill Freud and Company
Cast includes
Richard Emerson, Louise Shuttleworth, Jonathan Jones, Patience Tomlinson
Running time
2hrs 45mins