Abigail’s Party - Lowther Pavilion
This witty play was the product of an improvised piece which was eventually televised and is now regarded as classic.
Mike Leigh’s wicked insight into 1970’s suburbia takes place in the home of Beverley and Laurence, who invite their neighbours Ange and Tony round, along with Sue, who’s escaping daughter Abigail’s party. But as drinks are consumed, we gradually see the veneer of civility fall away.
The set was a great recreation of 1970’s vivid colour and had a fabulous real turntable.
Director Joyce Burgess ensured the cast also dealt well with the many props.
Andrea Neville, as Beverley, did extremely well with a part which sees her on stage most of the time.
She brought the cruelty and viciousness of Alison Steadman – the original Beverley – to a role too often played comically and displayed a fine range of facial expressions.
As ‘Ange’, Louisa Davies captured perfectly a gawky, timid character in awe of her seeming social superior Beverley, then suddenly a confident (and sober) nurse in full control when her skills are needed.
David Arrow was a suitably nagged husband who also eventually tires of his wife’s constant attacks and Tony (Kieran O’ Doherty) made the most of his one-liners.
Kirsten Burnett as Sue ably used body language and her few lines to convey a concerned mother with great skill.