Wednesday, July 16, 2014

6 August - Abigail's Party

Many thanks to all who turned up today to read The History Boys ... and especially to Margaret who had the most difficult lines.  I was so pleased that we were able to read it, at last!  And I felt you all enjoyed it and appreciated Bennett's humour.

Welcome to Sheena - we hope you enjoyed the group and hope we have given you a favourable impression of WIC!

Thank you too to Kyung-Sook and Isobel for the lovely cakes - they were yummy.  And my thanks to everyone who took some of the cakes home with them!


As I am pressed for time tonight, I am shamelessly copying from Wikipedia!  However, I might mention that the BBC version featured the wonderful Alison Steadman as Beverley and Janine Duvitski as Angela.  You might remember the latter from a number of sitcoms, most notably One Foot in The Grave, and I personally feel she is often under-rated as an actress.  Tim Stern was Laurence, John Salthouse played Tony and Harriet Reynolds was Susan.  All were the original cast apart from Harriet Reynolds who replaced Thelma Whiteley.

As this play was set in the 70s, I hope to be able to provide suitable nibbles for the interval.......

So this is what Wikipedia has to say (abridged):

Abigail's Party is a play for stage and television devised and directed in 1977 by Mike Leigh. It is a suburban situation comedy of manners, and a satire on the aspirations and tastes of the new middle class that emerged in Britain in the 1970s. The play developed in lengthy improvisations during which Mike Leigh explored the characters with the actors, but did not always reveal the incidents that would occur during the play. The production opened in April 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre, and returned after its initial run in the summer of 1977, 104 performances in all. A recording was arranged at the BBC as a Play for Today, produced by Margaret Matheson, and transmitted in November 1977.

  • Beverly Moss - An ex-department store make-up representative, 'a quondam beautician', she has failed her driving test three times. During the play, she flirts with Tony and is always trying to impress her guests. According to the critic Michael Coveney; "Beverly is undoubtedly a monster. But she is also a deeply sad and vulnerable monster...The whole point about Beverly is that she is childless, and there is a sense in which that grotesque exterior carapace is a mask of inner desolation."
  • Laurence Moss - Estate agent with 'Wibley Webb'. Laurence is Beverly's husband, and the pair frequently argue. He aspires to the finer things in life but seems powerless to compete with Beverly's more flamboyant persona, and compensates by working too much, as his wife points out on several occasions. 
  • Tony Cooper - He works in computing. Tony is quiet throughout most of the play, usually appearing uneasy and giving one-word answers, but towards the end he becomes somewhat irate and quick-tempered, particularly with his wife. 
  • Angela Cooper - Tony's wife. A nurse, Angela appears very meek and somewhat childlike, unintelligent and tactless.
  • Susan Lawson - Sue was getting divorced at the same time the other characters were getting married. She is a quiet character who does not really have the courage to say no. She is the only female visibly not 'dressed-up' for the gathering; clearly, she would rather be elsewhere. 

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