By Mike Leigh
The Lowry, 29 April 2013
Perhaps we now laugh at certain different moments, yet even so Mike Leigh’s play retains its pre-Thatcher, ‘70s splendour.
This nouveau riche couple Beverly (Hannah Waterman) and Laurence (Martin Marquez), an unhappy mismatch, invite a few neighbours around for drinks and nibbles. There are plenty of laughs and superior sniggers to be had, but it never becomes quite as savage as Ivy Compton-Burnett.
The characters are well-sculptured monsters, skirting though never quite succumbing to caricature, and the play says much about Britain still: its snobbishness and pretension, the incessant bullying and sense of frustration, our essential immaturity.
I enjoyed this production very much. The performances, particularly from Hannah Waterman as Beverly, are excellent, and as for the set, a ‘70s-style living room, it is virtually a character in itself.
Abigail’s Party is at The Lowry until 4 May, further details are here.