PRIOR TO THE WEST END THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION OF MIKE LEIGH’S ICONIC COMEDY
Amanda Abbington stars in Abigail’s Party, one of the most popular plays ever written, directed by Sarah Esdaile
It’s forty years since the appalling Beverly first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesey-pineapple ones, plied her guests with alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos and slow-danced her way across the shag-pile into theatrical history.
The drinks party from hell begins when Beverly and estate agent husband Laurence invite round new neighbours, Tony and Ange, along with nervous divorcee Sue, jittery about the bash her teenage daughter, Abigail, is throwing up the road. As that party reportedly gets out of hand, this one too descends into chaos, and comedy, drama and tragedy combine into an iconic piece of theatre. Hilarious and horribly compelling, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party is an undisputed classic.
This ruthlessly accurate and painfully funny observation of the pretensions of suburbia comedy became an instant classic when it first appeared as a BBC Play For Today in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Amanda Abbington is best-known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock, Miss Mardle in Mr Selfridge and DS Jo Moffat in Cuffs. Joining her are Ben Caplan as Laurence, Rose Keegan as Susan, Charlotte Mills as Angela and Ciarán Owens as Tony.
Sarah Esdaile directed Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads for Theatre Royal Bath’s 2015 Summer Season. She was Associate Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse where productions included Deep Blue Sea starring Maxine Peake, Death of a Salesman with Philip Jackson and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Mike Leigh is one of Britain’s most influential theatre and film directors. His numerous awards have included Best Comedy award for the stage play Goose Pimples, a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema, National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film for Life is Sweet, Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival for Naked, the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Secrets and Lies and an Oscar for Topsy Turvy.
Theatre Royal Bath Productions are one of the most highly regarded producers of touring and West End productions. Recent productions include: Stepping Out, which toured to sell out houses ahead of a West End transfer in March 2017 starring Amanda Holden, Tracy Ann Oberman and Tamsin Outhwaite, Relatively Speaking starring Robert Powell and Liza Goddard and A Room with a View starring Felicity Kendal, Jeff Rawle and Simon Jones.
ABIGAIL’S PARTY – MON 24 – SAT 29 APR at Richmond Theatre
Tickets: from £19.90* (includes booking fee)
Richmond Box Office: 0844 871 7651* Website: atgtickets.com/Richmond *
*Fees apply. Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.
Ben Caplan most recently starred in Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse) and as Eddie Kassner in Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre). He is also known for his role as PC Peter Noakes in the first five series of BBC’s Call The Midwife.
Rose Keegan’s stage credits include Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce (Aldwych Theatre) and The Revengers’ Comedies (Strand Theatre), Cunegonde in Candide and Peterchen in Sugardollies (Gate Theatre).
Charlotte Mills played Tanya in the original production of Jerusalem at the Royal Court, then at the Apollo Theatre West End and The Music Box Theatre on Broadway. Other recent credits include The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Shakespeare's Globe and The Winter's Tale at the RSC.
Ciarán Owens’ theatre work includes Candide, Titus Andronicus and Mad World My Masters for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Oh! What A Lovely War (Theatre Royal Stratford East).