London Classic Theatre today announces a new UK and Ireland tour of Mike Leigh’s classic comedy Abigail’s Party.
The production opens at Theatre Royal, Winchester on 1 March 2023 before touring to a further nineteen venues including Lowestoft, Chelmsford, Warwick, Doncaster, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Bromley, Derby, Lincoln, Southport, Perth, Inverness, Oldham, Cork, Eastbourne, Darlington, Exeter, Bury St Edmunds and Malvern, concluding in Wales at Venue Cymru on 15 July 2023.
Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre, Michael Cabot said today “We’re delighted to be launching our 2023 season with this iconic play. Abigail’s Party is a wonderful mix of acute social observation and laugh-out-loud awkwardness. Mike Leigh’s script, famously devised with his original cast, is an absolute treasure trove for actors and directors alike. The characters may seem larger-than-life but there is an extraordinary undercurrent of nuance informing their actions and behaviour. I’m currently in the early stages of planning with Bek Palmer, our set and costume designer, and it’s always terrific to see her vision for the piece take shape. The play is set in 1977, so we are spending a lot of time delving into the fashion and interior design of the period, which is a treat in itself!”
It was 1977, the year of skin-tight polyester, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Saturday Night Fever. The Sex Pistols were storming up the charts, skateboarding was the latest craze and Angela Rippon danced with Morecambe & Wise.
And at Hampstead Theatre in London, Mike Leigh and his cast were putting the finishing touches to Abigail’s Party, ferocious black comedy and landmark of twentieth century theatre.
In her suburban living room, Beverly prepares for the arrival of her guests. She and husband Laurence will play host to neighbours Angela, Tony and Susan. As the alcohol flows and the ‘nibbles’ are handed around, Mike Leigh’s ruthless, achingly funny examination of 1970s British life begins…
Abigail’s Party was premièred at the Hampstead Theatre in 1977, with the role of Beverly being immortalised by Alison Steadman. A record sixteen million people watched its broadcast as Play for Today, launching its status as a true modern classic and national treasure.