Anyone for Demis Roussos? Good, because Abigail’s Party is coming to town as part of a three-month nationwide tour. The leading lady role of soirée organiser, Beverly – most famously portrayed by Alison Steadman in both the original Hampstead Theatre production of 1977 and the TV adaptation – is taken up by Jodie Prenger, no stranger to the stage (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s one woman show Tell Me On A Sunday, for example) and, perhaps appropriately, Radio 2 airwaves (co-hosting Going Out With Alan Carr and stepping in for Paul O’Grady and EP). She’s described Mike Leigh’s iconic and groundbreaking comedy as ‘a true British classic’ and reveals that self-described sophisticated but actually suburbanite shopgirl Beverly is ‘a real bucket list part for me’. Beverly’s estate-agent husband Lawrence is played by Daniel Casey (of Midsomer Murders fame) while Coronation Street and Emmerdale favourite Vicky Binns is the simpering and rather sad Angela, the new neighbour whose husband Tony (Calum Callaghan) takes toxic masculinity to the next level. Rose Keegan reprises her role as the unseen Abigail’s mum Sue from the recent 40th-anniversary revival at Theatre Royal Bath, described (by The Sunday Times) as ‘psychologically acute as well as funny’. Directed by Sarah Esdaile – behind both that version and now this one – expect perfectly excruciating performances, spot-on costumes and a set replete with Rotel hifi, sheepskin rug, Swiss cheese plant, pine furniture a-go-go and mini bar stocked with Babycham and soda syphons. Cheese and pineapple sticks at the ready – let’s get this party started.
Mon 8 – Sat 13 Apr, Opera House, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP, Tel: 0844 871 3018, Mon–Sat 7.30pm, Thu & Sat 2.30pm, £13–41.25, www.atgtickets.com
Published on: Mon 18 Feb 2019