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Abigail’s Party

By Mike Leigh

The Lowry, 29 April 2013

Hannah Waterman in Abigail's Party.

Hannah Waterman in Abigail’s Party.

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.