Absurd Person Singular
Alan Ayckbourn's decades-long journey through English suburban angst was seldom better exemplified than in Absurd Person Singular. Central to the story is the compulsion of people to consume and accumulate wealth to the detriment of their emotional wellbeing.
Three Christmases are endured in three kitchens, which form the backdrop to meetings between three couples, lower middle, upper middle and upper class respectively. Fortunes change, power shifts, but all is as nothing to the emotional damage done to each character in this savage satire of bourgeois English mores. 'When I first saw the play, I thought they were all incredibly unsympathetic characters,' says actress Deborah Grant, familiar from such TV dramas as A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. 'But in doing the play, I'm enjoying them enormously. I don't know if we're doing it differently or I'm mellowing with age.'
Grant feels the three-kitchen setting affords an unprecedented opportunity for social observation. 'All life happens in the kitchen in anybody's house,' she says. 'The kitchen tells you everything about your house - what you have, what you've left out. It's like watching people's supermarket baskets, you can tell so much.' This piece is set in period, with 70s interiors, but much remains recognisable according to Grant: 'People don't change, we still have the same problems with our relationships now as we did then.'
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 8-Sat 13 Sep