party time

Rebecca Birch, (left), Jo Castleton, George Readshaw, Tom Richardson, and Alice De-Warrenne. Picture: Sheila Burnett

Abigail’s Party

Malvern Theatres


The seventies are most definitely back in fashion baby yeah, so grab your bell bottoms and wide collar shirts for an awkward polyester soiree with Mike Leigh’s 1977 comedy Abigail’s Party at Malvern Theatres this week.

Whatever you do though, definitely do not try to match the drinks along with Beverley and Angela, as you won’t make it through the first half and instead be dribbling into the porcelain throne after a cocktail stick or two of cheese and pineapple. That swirling wallpaper won’t help steady your gaze either as the set by Bek Palmer encompasses everything 70s from the rotary phone to the leather, not leather-look, three-piece suite.

Beverly, Rebecca Birch, is dressed up to the nines and loves to love you as she dances provocatively round her house setting up the nibbles ready for the neighbours to arrive.

Husband Laurence, Tom Richardson, arrives home from work late then continues to call clients and is berated by his frustrated wife for forgetting the lagers. Angela, Alice De-Warrenne and Tony, George Readshaw, entangle themselves into the uncomfortable atmosphere as divorcee Sue, Jo Castleton, makes up the final guest and the bad behaviour can commence.

Abigail’s party is actually the backdrop to Beverly’s party and the more inebriated everybody becomes, the raunchier Beverly gets with Tony causing Laurence’s blood pressure to sky rocket, but the real struggles are with Angela, as she tries to pick up her glass with hula hoops on the ends of each finger.

The truth spills out in body language and torrents as dysfunctional relationships are highlighted, class differences and cultural integrity hangs on the balance. Despite nearly fifty years on the stage, Mike Leigh’s script remains relevant, and the in-depth character studies bring verity and reality with an edge of uncomfortable vulnerabilities.

Pop on some Elvis and join Abigail’s Party this week at Malvern Theatres until Saturday July 8th, with tickets costing from £8.96 up to £31.92. For more information visit Malvern Theatres or call the box office on 01684 892277.

Emma Trimble


Index page Malvern Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre