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Abigail’s Party is one of those iconic plays that certainly takes on a life of its own, depending on the cast.
This production, nicely directed by Joe Butcher, brought us the humour and rancour of the situations the players found themselves in – and their separate reactions.
The set, designed by Alan Goss, was a typical lounge of the era – very well-
We had Mandy Vazquez as Beverley – the patronising and condescending wife of estate
agent Lawrence, who is running himself ragged trying to please everyone – but certainly
not pleasing his wife by his absences, and the fact he does more for his clients
than he does for her. This was very evident, although I was a little concerned that
Laurence, played by Adam Croft became a little too shrill and frantic, without any
real reason – a gradual build-
I thought Mandy handled the part very well, but could have been a little more up
front with her characterisation in some places – for example, her flirting with Tony
was a little bit too overt, you could have missed it if you’d blinked in the wrong
place, but the moment when they danced together, with hands straying all over the
place was very good, and I am sure there was something between Lawrence and Susan?
Overall I loved the way Beverley patronised Angela and Susan such a lovely tone of voice and look.
I thought Mandy’s dress and hair really suited the part.
The fact that Beverley considered herself a cut above her new neighbours, and had obviously invited them round to show off her house and possessions was very cleverly achieved.
Christine Hobart created a very believable Angela – not out of the top drawer, always quick to put her rather surly husband down and revelling in discovering all the lovely things she thinks she ought to have to rival Beverley’s home. The only thing that didn’t ring entirely true was Christine’s hair – that era she would have had a more structured hairdo!
Anthony Bird created the wonderfully surly Tony – who showed good reaction to Beverley
and Susan, whilst being very off-
The fact that Beverley and Laurence seemed to think that they were being super party hosts by continually filling their guests glasses was amusing, as was the fact their guests were urged to smoke even though they didn’t really want to – all encompassed in a facet of Beverley’s nature that told her she was always right.
Beverley’s enjoyment of Demis Roussos was meant to show her tasteless side I feel, and this was certainly accomplished!
I thought the end of the play all got a little hectic – but absolutely loved the CPR scene with Angela and Tony – very well done and extremely funny, and the fact that Susan suddenly found her voice was good.
It is strange how the two very different marriages seem to start unravelling before
our eyes – and the tactless references to various things that had happened obviously
belittling of their so-
I loved small things like the reference to the yellow Escort by Laurence, they were little throwaways that gave an indication of the character traits of each person.
All in all, a very good version of the play with humour and some pathos to the fore. A fine start to the Rep’s 2015 season.
review date: 19th Jan 2015
Little Theatre, Dunstable
Director: Joe Butcher