By Jeremy Miles
IT may be more than a quarter of a century old but Abigail’s Party remains as incisive a piece of social observation as has ever been mounted on a stage.
Originally of course it was a TV drama, a BBC Play for Today that placed director Mike Leigh at the forefront of contemporary cutting edge theatre. This new stage version is every bit as fascinating.
A deceptively dark comedy with many light touches, it focuses on socially aspirant Beverley (Lizzie McInnerny) and her brow-beaten husband Laurence (Huw Higginson) who are holding a drinks party for new neighbours Angela (Elizabeth Hopley) and Tony (Simon Wilson).
Also on the guest list is Susan (Liz Crowther) , seeking refuge from the teenage party being thrown by her daughter Abigail just along the rood.
The scenes that follow are an exquisite and excruciating miasma of embarrassment as we witness two marriages in crisis, the drinks party from hell and the twin sins of greed and stupidity in their most corrosive, drink-fuelled state.
Superbly acted by a cast who clearly spark off one another, this is a fascinating, entertaining and thought-provoking revival. There’s a fantastic seventies set too. Check it out!
Abigail’s Party runs at Lighthouse in Poole until Saturday September 27.