Abigail's Party

Mike Leigh

Abigail's Party

In 1970's suburbia, Beverly and her husband Laurence are hosting a drinks party for their neighbours. There is plenty of alcohol, an array of cheese-pineapple savoury bites and olives, and Demis Roussos on the record player. But as prejudices are unmasked and tempers flare, the evening seems headed for disaster... 3.8 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Abigail's Party

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Menier Chocolate Factory
Director Lindsay Posner
Cast Natalie Casey, Jill Halfpenny, Susannah Harker, Andy Nyman ,Joe Absolom
From March 2012
Until April 2012
Box Office 020 7378 1713
 

In 1970's suburbia, Beverly and her husband Laurence are hosting a drinks party for their neighbours. There is plenty of alcohol, an array of cheese-pineapple savoury bites and olives, and Demis Roussos on the record player. But as prejudices are unmasked and tempers flare, the evening seems headed for disaster...

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

Leigh’s play will always strike some as a heartless and patronising caricature of pretentious suburbanism. But here it seems triumphantly witty — not so much a cheesy nibble as a fizzing mix of acute humour and slowly revealed tragedy.

09/03/2012

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The Daily Express

Simon Edge

I had a nagging fear that the script wouldn't be funny any more, or that the prejudices and concerns of the characters would seem impossibly dated. But as they sit filling silences with vacuous chit-chat about property prices, the computer industry and the wayward habits of teenagers, they sound frighteningly modern.

09/03/2012

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The Financial Times

Sarah Hemming

A painfully good revival that makes you laugh, then wish you hadn’t.

12/03/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

Oddly, the play, first seen in 1977 and revived in 2002, always seems to coincide with royal jubilees. Maybe that's more than chance: Leigh's play isn't simply about marriage and Essex, but also about the unhappy state of the realm.

09/03/2012

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The Independent

Paul Taylor

Posner's production will delight the fans, while also offering invigoratingly fresh new sidelights on characterisation and on questions such as to what degree this play is inviting the condescending laughter of the social secure on the aspirational lower-middle and working classes ... Halfpenny pins down with hilarious precision the infallibly undermining supportiveness of Beverly who bullies her way to democratic majorities and to her draconian notion of female solidarity.

09/03/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

The one trouble with Abigail’s Party is that so many people know it so well that it has lost the power to surprise.

08/03/2012

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The Observer

Kate Kellaway

Brilliant, awful, vintage Leigh – a party to gatecrash.

11/03/2012

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The Stage

Paul Vale

Lindsay Posner’s production is pitched perfectly. It is neither a slavish copy of the original nor an awkward re-imagining for the present day. Thanks to Mike Britton’s keenly observed set, a kaleidoscope of browns, orange, sheepskin and objets d’art, the period and its questionable glamour is resurrected rather than regurgitated.

09/03/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

Posner’s superb production captures the palpable pain of the characters as well as their absurdity. We certainly still laugh at them, and wince, too ... But crucially, we also feel for them.

09/03/2012

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell

What do you do when youthful passions subside and you find yourself cooing over rotisseries instead? It’s a theme that, unlike the headache wallpaper in Mike Britton’s set, is timeless ... Posner keeps it all the right side of caricature. This is a sharp, satirical play that remains as painfully funny as ever.

09/03/2012

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The Sunday Times

Jane Edwardes

More of a tribal rite than a performance, as we anticipate the next crushing comment and tick off the elements of the 1970s decor: shagpile carpet, orange and brown patterned wallpaper, spider plants, fibreoptic light.

18/03/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

The real snag is that the script seems baggy in its first half and, in the second, ratcheted up with little sense of genuine distress. In fact, Abigail's Party, this time round, resembles a shallow rejig of Absent Friends, Alan Ayckbourn's subtler portrait of soured surburban marriage.

18/03/2012

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Time Out

Andrzej Lukowski

It's a good production. Mike Britton's puce monstrosity of a living room set is pretty funny in itself ... Yet I still couldn't quite get my head around the point of the whole enterprise: 'Abigail's Party' is a period piece only open to the gentlest tampering, and when you can watch the original production at the click of a button, it's hard to see there's any real artistic need to bring it back to the stage.

09/03/2012

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