IT seems hard to believe that it’s nearly 50 years since Mike Leigh skewered the aspirational brutality of suburban life in Abigail’s Party. Premiered in 1977, the year of the Queen’s silver jubilee, the play still hits the spot, as audiences will discover when London Classic Theatre brings its new production of this 20th century classic to Bath Theatre Royal from 17th to 19th July.
Directed by Michael Cabot, the company’s founder and artistic director, this blackest of comedies stars Rebecca Birch as Beverly, Jo Castleton as Susan, Alice DeWarrenne as Angela, George Readshaw as Tony and Tom Richardson as Laurence.
In her suburban living room, Beverly prepares for the arrival of her guests. She and husband Laurence are playing host to their neighbours Angela, Tony and Susan. As the alcohol flows and the ‘nibbles’ are handed around, Mike Leigh’s ruthless and achingly funny excoriation of social mores takes the audience into the dark heart of isolation and empty lives.
Photographs by Sheila Burnett.