Play directory : Absolute Hell

Welcome to The Mandy Network Plays Directory.

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Rodney Ackland
  • Overview
    The action Absolute Hell takes place in a shabby London drinking club called La Vie en Rose (translates to something like "The Good Life"). The usual crowd come and go. They obviously all know each other very well and spend most of their drink-fuelled evenings in this place. The war in Europe has just ended. American soldiers wander in and out. One of the characters is permanently sozzled - but he spent the war in a POW camp. Hugh is a one-time serious writer now working in the Ministry of Information. Elizabeth is a beautiful woman who lives with a black marketeer - she constantly laughs at very unfunny jokes, including her own. Hugh is heartbroken that his lover, Nigel, is leaving him for a woman, and is desperate to get one of his story ideas accepted by a film company. But the film producer is only interested in signing up beautiful young men he has a fancy for. Outside the club reality is happening. The concentration camps have been liberated, the Labour Party is preparing to govern. But the Vie en Rose crowd turn it all into a silly joke, or say they can't take hearing about it just now. The main characters' feelings are exposed nakedly, they behave appallingly and humiliate themselves in public. The bomb-damaged building begins to crack up along with its inhabitants. By the end most of the characters can see at least a way out of their hell, but not before they've faced facts like the loss of youth, the dissipation of talent and the horror of what's been happening in Europe. A brilliantly written piece that has many resonances for today.