Review of Abigail’s Party at Milton Keynes Theatre

MHDE'Abigail's Party
MHDE'Abigail's Party
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Donna Summer, cheese and pineapple on sticks and the dinner party from hell. It can only be the full blooded melodrama of Abigail’s Party

Abigail’s Party sees Beverly and estate agent husband Laurence inviting round new neighbours Tony and Ange and nervous divorcee Sue, twitchy about the party her fifteen-year-old daughter, Abigail, is throwing.

This play is a classic Mike Leigh’s satire about middle class values has stood the test of time and even led to a recent West End Revival.

This is undoubtedly a very funny play, mixing dark humour with the light playful atmopshere of the party where everyone is encouraged, or forced, to have a good time.

But the cast almost seems to struggle to get the balance right. Only Hannah Waterman’s Beverly adds any real liveliness to proceedings. She’s cruel, vicious and nasty despite her pretense of trying to be the perfect hostess.

And her outrageous flirting with Ange’s husband Tony right in front of her is both hilarious and shows how full of contempt she is for the people around her. Indeed, the dance sequences in the second half were the cause of most of the laughter in the evening.

But this show struggled for life a little, and perhaps a little more energy could have made it more compelling to the audience. But this is a faithful recreation of the 70s and Leigh’s script is still as satirical and as funny as ever.

The show runs until Saturday. Tickets for Abigail’s Party, call 0844 871 7652.