Alan Ayckbourn is reliving history at Greenwich Theatre with Absent Friends.

Back in 1974 the theatre produced Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests with Tom Courtenay alongside the then lesser known Michael Gambon, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Wilton and Penelope Keith.

“It achieved astonishing ticket sales and transferred to the West End,” said the theatre’s artistic and executive director James Haddrell, “Now we’re proud to be hosting a touring production of Alan’s Absent Friends by London Classic Theatre, who have been to Greenwich several times, most successfully with a production of Abigail’s Party, which I programmed when I took over seven years ago.”

In Absent Friends Colin’s friends are worried how to approach him over the death of his fiancée, Carol, who has drowned. At a tea party Colin seems euphorically happy while the rest of the party are near breaking point.

“You can’t beat an Alan Ayckbourn script or tamper with its setting,” said James. “Many of the plays offer a kind of modern example of ‘timeless theatre’, in the way that people describe Shakespeare as timeless. In a hundred years people will still be doing Ayckbourn in that way.”

Absent Friends, June 25 to June 27, 7.30pm, Sat matinée, 2.30p, £16 to £18.50, Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, greenwichtheatre.org.uk