The Office star set to shine in Stevenage play

16:49 31 January 2014

Joel Beckett will be playing Paul in  a production of Absent Friends at the Gordon Craig Theatre

Joel Beckett will be playing Paul in a production of Absent Friends at the Gordon Craig Theatre


A star of television sitcom The Office is performing in a play based around a “car crash of a tea party.”

Joel Beckett, who played Dawn’s fiance Lee in The Office as well as Jake Moon in EastEnders, is leading the cast performing Absent Friends at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.

The play, written by Alan Ayckbourn in 1974, is a fascinating character study which delves into the relationships of a group of old friends.

Beckett, who also appeared alongside Elijah Wood in Green Street, is relishing playing lead character Paul.

He said: “Paul is not a particularly nice person, but he’s a man who’s trying to find out who he is and he’s an interesting character to play.

“All the characters are very complex but they have a common denominator in that they are all dealing with the effect that time has had on their relationships with each other.

“The play is a look at people’s lives behind closed doors, and the relationships they have with friends and loved ones. It’s a high energy, high tension play with lots of comedy but also sadness.

“It’s basically a car crash of a tea party because everything seems to go wrong.

“My parents are from Biggleswade and I went to school in Bedford and I used to come here for school trips, so I know the area well!”

Playing Paul’s wife Diana is Terri Dwyer, who played Ruth Osborne in the Channel Four soap Hollyoaks for six years before becoming a presenter on ITV’s 60 Minute Makeover.

She has also appeared on the Gordon Craig stage in numerous tours, the latest of which being The Vagina Monologues in September 2013.

Absent Friends takes to the Gordon Craig stage from Wednesday, February 5, until Saturday, February 8, at 7.45pm, with 2.30pm matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday.

Tickets cost £12.50, £16 and £19.50, depending on seat choice, with matinee performances priced at £17.50.

They can be purchased by calling the box office on 01438 363200 or by visiting the website


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