Acclaimed writer and director Mike Leigh has many huge hits to his name but few can rival the impact of the classic Abigail’s Party which is currently being staged by Tip Top Productions at the Forum Studio Theatre in Chester.
Broadcast on television more than 30 years ago, the play shows the audience a group of people whose lives are steeped in rancour and sadness.
Beverly (Rachel Sumner) taunts her estate-agent husband Laurence (Stuart Evans) while he patronises her. Tony (Theo Spofforth) behaves with thuggish violence towards his wife (Sally Angelsea) while Susan (Anne Crowther), a middle-class divorcee is fleeing her punkish daughter Abigail’s party, suffers wilting inertia that partly explains her isolation.
Despite its bleak undertones it has timeless themes of relationship and human interaction, as well as being unexpectedly funny and well observed.
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Directed by Simon Phillips, who recently had great success with Tip Top’s musical Rent in February, the cast featurest newcomer to Tip Top Anne Crowther in the role of Susan.
An oral historian by day, currently living in Liverpool, Anne is no stranger to the stage having performed previously with Chalice Media, Valley Theatre Liverpool and in Terrence Rattigan’s Separate Tables as part of the Port Sunlight Drama Festival.
Simon Phillips has been keen to direct the play differently and bring an alternative view to the audience.
Following Abigail’s Party in the Tip Top season is Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads in May, Gail Young’s Bouncing Back in June and a concert version of Oklahoma! in August.
Tip Top have also announced they will be back in Theatr Clwyd in Mold in October with the ever popular Grease the musical.
Tickets for shows, which run until April 30, at the Forum Studio Theatre can be booked online at www.chestertheatre.co.uk or by phoning 01244 341296.