Posts Tagged ‘Abigails’s Party’




By Mike Leigh

Directed by Wesley Figaji

At the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg, from 30 October to 7 November 2009

WHEN: Sunday, 12 July 2009, at 2:30pm

WHERE: The Guide Hall, Glen Alpine Way, Bergvliet


This cult play was first performed in 1977, when it was directed by Mike Leigh himself.  Described as a dark comedy, this very funny social satire is set firmly in the 1970’s when José Feliciano and Donna Summer competed with The Sex Pistols.  Smock dresses, three-piece suits, bell-bottoms, big hair and kitsch were in fashion.

The plot revolves around a party hosted by a barely functional, but highly aspirational, middle-class couple to impress and entertain a couple who are new to the neighbourhood and a divorced neighbour (whose daughter is Abigail, but she is never seen).  As the alcohol flows freely, the situation unravels into one-upmanship, marital power plays, petty competitiveness, humiliation and general social discomfort, and it gradually becomes clear that outward appearances seldom reflect true human nature.

It’s a wonderful play that requires strong characterization from all the performers.  All characters should preferably be in the 35 to 45 year range.  Cockney accents are essential (think Michael Caine).


BEVERLY Beverly is the ultimate hostess from hell.  Aspiring to the good life, she is flamboyant, dominating, snobby, pretentious and completely oblivious to the meaning of shame and embarrassment.  She has lots of outward flash, but very little inner substance.

LAURENCE Laurence is Beverly’s husband.  He attempts to appear more cultured than his wife, but is harassed, downtrodden and henpecked and therefore tends to overwork.  He is frustrated and highly stressed and barely conceals his contempt for Beverly.

ANGELA Angela is bubbly, talkative and full of simple humour and innocence.  She appears naïve and allows her husband to control her.  She seldom thinks before she speaks and is somewhat oblivious to the impact her words have on others.

TONY Tony is Angela’s husband.  He doesn’t say much and when he does it’s usually in grunts or single-word sentences.  He is not a violent man (although he has the potential for violence), but is dispassionate, grumpy and broody with a deep disdain and contempt for his wife.  There is a simmering tension just below the surface.  His body language and facial gestures speak volumes.

SUSAN Susan is a divorcee and the mother of teenage Abigail (who is having a party down the road and is never seen during the play).  Susan is timid, shy, reserved and would rather be somewhere else, but hasn’t the courage to say no.  In a sense, she is the only ‘real’ person at the party, but is clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time.

PRODUCTION and BACKSTAGE assistance will be welcome.

For further information and directions, please contact

Lee de Andrade on 0835474386


Wesley Figaji on 073 286 987

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