Mike Leigh's play Abigail's Party was written in 1977, at a time when marriage was every “woman's aspiration,” divorce was a taboo subject, men were head of the household, and turning a blind eye to violence against women was commonplace.
Neighbours Bev (Rebecca Birch) and Laurence (Tom Richardson) are hosting a drinks party for a few choice neighbours. Set in 1977 the decor, drinks cabinet and canapés are indicative of the era. Especially the pineapple and cheese on sticks and the exotic acquired taste of olives.
Alice De-Warrenne in the role of ditzy Angela, who has recently moved into Richmond Road with her husband Tony (George Readshaw). Appears completely oblivious to Bev's advances on her husband as the gin flows freely. Her performance is outstanding and as she plays with the hula hoops during the slow “dirty” dance between Bev and Tony you hold your breath the moment you expect her to catch them.
The decor and furniture brought back childhood memories. Bold-designed wallpaper looms at you and the living room matching wooden furniture all in keeping with the 70's style home decor. Bek Palmer recreated the era to match the attitudes at that time.
Director Michael Cabot brings together comedy, tempers, and strong sexual tension to the stage through the excellent cast of five from the London Classic Theatre company.
It is safe to say that Susan's (Jo Castleton) daughter 15-year-old daughter Abigail is having more fun at her party than the adults have been. You could cut the tension at times with a knife as the alcohol loosens their inhibitions and simmering tempers explode.
Review: Elaine Chapman