This iconic play written by Mike Leigh and directed by Sarah Esdaile all centres around Beverly with her mannerisms, voice and accent being the epicentre of the character. Beverly is played by the well-known Jodie Prenger who delivers a brilliant performance that brings out her personality to perfection.
The other four characters are Bev’s husband Laurence (played by Daniel Casey best known as DS Gavin Troy in Midsomer Murders), new neighbours Angela and Tony (played by Vicky Binns from Emmerdale and Coronation Street fame – and Calum Callaghan) and divorcee Sue who is Abigail’s mum (played by Rose Keegan).
An accomplished performance by all five actors transports you back to the 70’s and the journey is greatly helped along by the wonderful work done by the set designers and costume department who have been able to capture the period to perfection. It would be difficult to criticise the decor, props and costumes (not forgetting the hairstyles) and the audience was particularly appreciative of the use of real vinyl and a record player to provide the music that includes Bev’s favourite song Forever and Ever by Demis Roussos.
Abigail’s Party portrays the frustration of suburban life and this becomes more apparent as the drink flows and the characters become more relaxed in each other’s company. As they relax more of the characters become less inhibited their true colours really begin to show. The cast as a whole produces consistently good performances to ensure that these personalities shine through.
Although predominately a comedy there are serious undertones that are synonymous of working class life. The audience can believe that the writer used his own experiences and observations to create their dialogue. The cast would have appeared to have done their homework to make themselves aware of tensions in the 1970’s as they work well in harmony with each other through the various scenes and sketches. A smooth performance from all the players holds the audiences attention throughout.
To sum up this was a brilliant performance by the strong cast of actors and drops easily into the “must see” catergory of plays. The play leaves you nodding and saying to yourself “We all know a Bev”
You really should get a ticket if you want a great night out. The run at the Regent Theatre ends on Saturday 23rd February 2019.
Submitted by April McCafferty