Amanda Abbington stars in Abigail’s Party, one of the most popular plays ever written, at Cambridge Arts Theatre from April 10 to 15.
It’s 40 years since the appalling Beverly first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesy-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, directed by Sarah Esdaile, 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.
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.