Abigail’s Party

Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh has been on my want to see list for a long time. Just at this moment, I’m disappointed.

I saw Abigail’s Party years ago during an August afternoon in a Fringe venue performed by a group of non-drama students. I thought the chap cast as Tony in that production was so bad because he’d been drafted in to fill a space. Now I realise it wasn’t him – it’s the part.

Women shouting their glee over discovering they’re entertaining a professional footballer is long gone, but not completely. Maybe Leigh has a point when Beverley, the ghastly heroine, played by Hannah Waterman, gets over-excited by mono-syllabic Tony and his legs.

I had no recollection of the ending of Abigail’s Party. Certainly the A-B-C of don’t pull a rabbit out of the hat to cheat the audience is all there, but you do have to piece it together later.

The cast work hard, but I can’t help thinking it would have enjoyed a better vibe if we’d been allowed a bit more seventies music.

All of that said, the play pointed up in the late seventies how very difficult it is to imbue taste despite opportunity. When I was working in London in the seventies, the flat had a host of pictures sold by the thousand. They were moody studies of heads: children with a single tear falling down their cheek, a beautiful girl/woman with a flower in her hair – beyond sentimental. A friend took them to sell at the church where he was training to be a Curate. The lady running the church fair said, ‘Oh no! These are too good to sell. We’ll use them as raffle prizes.’ There simply is no accounting for taste.

Disappointed, Edinburgh.

The King’s has lovely new seating – I may have mentioned this before. You can dedicate a seat. £300 for one, £500 for two. Visit: www.edtheatres.com/dedications or phone 0131-662 8087

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