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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

sTAGE reVIEW

‘Absurd’ cooks up humor, pain in kitchen

CAMBRIDGE — Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absurd Person Singular” is set on three successive Christmas Eves, and by identifying them in the script as “Last Christmas,” “This Christmas,” and “Next Christmas,” the playwright conjures the three spirits that visit Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” What he depicts, however, is not the implausible redemption of a miser but the inexorable rise of a money-grubbing British middle class.

In the right hands, “Absurd Person Singular,” which premiered in 1972, can be absurdly painful or absurdly funny. The Nora Theatre Company production directed by Daniel Gidron that’s just opened at the Central Square Theater is both. It shows the three wives, downtrodden at the start, beginning to take control of their husbands as the play progresses. It also makes sense of the way, at the three cocktail parties, everyone gravitates toward the kitchen.

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