“Abigail’s Party” is a play written by Mike Leigh in 1977 and as expected, it is full of British humor.
For a little insight, Mike Leigh is an English writer and director of both film and theatre. His way of writing plays is maybe an unusual one as it is based mostly on themes, ideas and improvisation. He would chose the actors he would like to work with, ask them to chose a character and create a full life-time story for that character. Then they would start improvisation with those characters for as long as Leigh thinks is enough material. After that he would integrate everything in a script. I believe, this is the most amazing way to write a script, as one includes multiple opinions and views on the subject creating something that can resonate to anyone.
What got me intrigued is the presentation before the play. There it was presented that the subject of the play should make a summary of the 70’s in British suburbs such as life style, personal life, jobs, fashion, arts, music and teenagers. I was really curious how and if these would be present and easy to observe. I was not disappointed.
The story of the show is very simple: one couple, Beverly (Melanie Gutteridge) and Laurence (Christopher Staines), decide to have a little gathering at their place with their new neighbors, Angela (Amy Downham) and Tony (Liam Bergin) as well as Susan (Susie Emmett), Abigail’s mom. Both couples are married for 3 years and are not happy, while Susan has been divorced for 3 years and has 2 children, Abigail (15 years old) and a boy of 11 years old. Beverly is the master mind and manipulative one in all this context and keeps poking everyone around.
I liked that the relationships between the characters were very well defined, as well as everyone´s role in the storyline. I liked the unusual jokes and humor and also the link to the real world. I liked the music, the décor and the lights. I liked Beverly’s dress that I want for myself (if anyone can tell me where I could find one I would be very grateful). Not the last, I liked the atmosphere created, putting me on a roller coaster of emotions throughout the show and Angela’s laugh that made me so uncomfortable. Personally, I loved Susan’s character and reactions.
In case you would like to disconnect from the world or want to see how life was not so long ago, I recommend this play with all my heart.
But if you just like theatre and want to see something different, musicals or classics check the website of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg for more information. They present shows in French, Luxembourgish, German and English.
Luxembourg, 03 December 2018 Madalina Modroiu