Abigail’s Party: Review

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Do you want to be a fly on the wall at the most awkward dinner party of the seventies? Then Abigail’s Party is the place for you.

Mike Leigh’s classic play Abigail’s Party (1977) has been taken on by director Sarah Esdaile at the Regent Theatre who tackled the tragic comedy in a light-hearted fashion.

Abigail’s Party follows the story of Beverly and Laurence, a suburban couple who invite Angela and Tony, the new couple on the block, over to their house for a few drinks.

Vicky Binns (Angela)

Joining them is Sue, a timid and far-off woman whose 15-year-old daughter Abigail has chased her out of her own home to throw a party.

We only meet those five characters over the course of the performance and we never leave the living room of Beverly and Laurence, yet with every noise from the party down the road, you could imagine exactly what was going on.

On Thursday, the Regent did a brilliant job of telling the timeless tale of five very British friends in a changing social climate.

It felt as though we were watching through a television screen and I had to remind myself that there were actors standing right in front of me.

Jodie Prenger took on the role of Beverly and she gave a fantastic performance. The character played famously by Alison Steadman in the television version of the play, is as over-powering and ridiculous as you would imagine.

Jodie Prenger as Beverly

Beverly’s constant flirting with Tony, played by Calum Callaghan, from the off created a tension in the room that you could cut with a knife while keeping the audience laughing with the relatability of it all.

Soap stars Daniel Casey, playing Laurence and Vicky Binns playing Angela, who both appeared on Emmerdale, played their characters in such a brilliant way that you could almost definitely relate them to someone in your own life.

Rose Keegan (Susan)

Rose Keegan played Sue perfectly with her one-word responses and awkward demeanour, “Come on Sue, just a top-up.”

The excruciating British humour is what gives Abigail’s Party its edge, it was the first of its kind and has become a model for what we see in British television today.

For details and tickets visit the Regent Theatre website.

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