Abigail’s Party takes you back to the 70s like a window to the past. We join Beverly as she is preparing drinks and nibbles in her suburban living room whilst waiting for her husband Laurence to return from his busy job. She is out to impress new neighbours Angela and Tony who have just moved to the area. Also invited to this soiree is Susan, whose teenage daughter Abigail is having a party a few doors down the road.
The group get to know each other more as the drinks flow but the thumbing music that can be heard causes Susan to worry about what is going on at the party house and Beverly and Laurence have their differences whilst trying to still put on a show for their guests. The evening, however, takes an unexpected turn when a heated row commences about a certain painting that Beverley has in her bedroom.
Cleverly written by Mike Leigh, Abigail’s Party gives the audience that feeling of being a fly on the wall of this 1970’s home.
Rebecca Birch was certainly channelling her inner Alison Steadman, who played the original part, in her portrayal of Beverley. Birch has clearly done her homework about the piece and she put in a brilliant performance making the character very believable. You get the feeling that all is not well with Beverley and her marriage to Laurence and yet she is flawless in the front that she shows her guests.
Alice De Warrenne is just fabulous as Angela. She is just so funny with the most brilliant comic timing, delivering lines perfectly all whilst tucking into the nibbles laid out on the tables, not an easy task for any actor but she totally nailed it.
In fact, there is not a weak link amongst the cast of this brilliantly funny production. Mike Leigh’s script is just as funny today as it was when first performed in 1977.
This production of Abigail’s Party makes for a very enjoyable outing to the theatre and is definitely recommended.
Abigail’s Party is at the New Wolsey Theatre until the 7th October. To book Tickets contact the Box Office on 01473 295900 or visit www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
Words: Wendy Cook, Ipswich24 Magazine.