The first Company of Ten production of the new season, Alan Ayckbourn's comedy Absurd Person Singular, opens in St Albans next week.

Alan Ayckbourn weaponises kitchen design and Christmas traditions to brilliantly dark comedic effect in a hilarious, spiky commentary on our times.

Absurd Person Singular opens on the Main Stage of the Abbey Theatre on Friday, September 23.

Widely considered to be Ayckbourn’s masterpiece, the play showcases all his skills as a master of comic ingenuity.

Absurd Person Singular takes three married couples, laces them with copious amounts of alcohol, ambition and social climbing, then tracks their changing fortunes over three successive Christmas Eves.

From the new Formica-clad sanctum of the ambitious Hopcrofts, through the trendy retro death-trap of the Jacksons to the chilly Victorian cavern of the Brewster-Wrights, the progressively alcohol-fuelled characters reveal their anxieties and prejudices in this incisive, often extremely dark, comedy.

Written in 1972, Ayckbourn foresaw Thatcherism before Thatcher and the play’s universal themes still resonate today with greed, bad taste and recognisable characters divided by class.

Of course, they’ve nothing in common with us but aren’t they a bit like those neighbours across the road with the awful wallpaper?

Director Angela Stone writes that Absurd Person Singular’s 50th anniversary is a good time to reflect on the play’s relevance as it exposes conflicts of class and sex in Middle England.

As Ayckbourn wryly observes, ‘You can tell much about people from their kitchens’ and he does not disappoint in this sharp-toothed satire on social climbing and the get-rich-quick culture.

Performances take place on the Company of Ten Main Stage from Friday, September 23 to Saturday, October 1 at 8pm.

There's also a matinee on Sunday, September 25 at 2.30pm.

To book tickets, please go to or call the box office on 01727 857861.

The Abbey Theatre has worked hard to ensure that it is a Covid-safe environment and has been awarded a ‘See it Safely’ mark in recognition of its efforts.