Casting Announced For Homecoming Revival of ABIGAIL'S PARTY
The Queen's Theatre Hornchurch is bringing Mike Leigh's cult classic, Abigail's Party home to its Essex roots this autumn. Set in 'theoretical Romford', this delicious 70s comedy notorious for its references to cheesy-pineapple and Demis Roussos is co-produced with Derby Theatre, Wiltshire Creative and international partner Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Playing the gauche aspirational hostess Beverly is Melanie Gutteridge. She is best known for her roles as PC Emma Keane in The Bill and Amy in Not Going Out. Her recent credits include the British-American horror film The Watcher in the Woods (directed by Melissa Joan Hart) and on stage in Roaring Trade at the Park Theatre.
She will be joined by Liam Bergin (Blood Wedding, Royal and Derngate Northampton) as Tony, Amy Downham (Common, National Theatre) as Angela, Susie Emmett (Lark Rise to Candleford, Finborough Theatre) as Susan and Christopher Staines (Hamlet, National Theatre) as Laurence.
Abigail's Party is directed by the Queen's Theatre's Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rope, The Crucible) with set and costume design by Lee Newby (James Graham's Labour of Love, Noel Coward Theatre), lighting design by Zoe Spurr and sound design by Ivan Stott. This savagely funny production opens at the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch from 30 August - 22 September and then tours to Derby Theatre (26 September - 20 October), Salisbury Playhouse (30 October - 17 November) and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (27 - 29 November).
Abigail's Party is widely considered a classic of 20th-century British drama for its tragi-comedy and acute satire on the class-consciousness and social climbing of 1970s Britain. It was made famous by the BBC's Play for Today starring Alison Steadman, which was seen by 16 million viewers.
The Queen's Theatre and Derby Theatre have also commissioned a brand new play, Abi, which is a contemporary response to Abigail's Party. This fresh new piece of writing is the latest in Derby Theatre's RETOLD series and is written by Atiha Sen Gupta (Skins, Holby City), one of Britain's exciting new writers (following Penelope RETOLD by Caroline Horton, Joan RETOLD written and directed by Lucy Skilbeck and Jinny RETOLD by Jane Wainwright). RETOLD is a series of new one-woman plays from some of the most sensational female voices in contemporary theatre today which aim to crack open the classics and see the story afresh from the perspective of a female character. Abi is directed by Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre's Artistic Director and stars Safiyya Ingar (LAVA, Nottingham Playhouse; Growth UK Tour, Paines Plough). Abi runs at the Queen's Theatre from 4 - 22 September and at Derby Theatre from 29 September - 20 October.