Abigail’s Party – Mike LeighTheatre Royal Bath
Abigail’s Party remains a firm favourite with audiences, originally produced in 1970 it is still as entertaining and disturbing in equal measure.
It is painfully funny and deeply satirical. We meet the characters at the drinks party from hell when Beverly and estate agent husband Laurence invite round new neighbours, Tony and Ange. Their friend Sue is also invited, she is anxious about the party her daughter Abigail is throwing down the road and the ensuing chaos is a result of too much gin, personal attacks and ultimately tragedy as frustrations boil to the surface.
The fabulous 1970’s set and costume design is a joyful creative time warp. Amanda Abbington is a prowling and dangerous Beverly whilst Ben Caplan (Laurence) fights to retain his place in proceedings. Physical and emotional abuse is never far from the surface. Angela (Charlotte Mills) is wonderfully funny as the easily impressed friend whist her ex football playing husband Tony (Ciaran Owens) provides a focus for Beverly’s advances. In the mix is the woefully out of place Sue (Rose Keegan) fighting to keep her anxiety under control and unused to amount of alcohol on offer.
Performances are strong and the brilliant script fizzes and crackles through the evening with great energy.
It is a classic piece and one well worth revisiting.
*** 1/2 – 3 and a half stars