Beverly (Alison Steadman) has invited her new neighbours, Angela (Janine Duvitski) and Tony (John Salthouse), over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue (Harriet Reynolds), because Sue's fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a party in their house. Beverly's husband, Lawrence (Tim Stern) comes home late from work, just before the guests arrive. The gathering starts off in a stiff insensitive British middle class way with people who do not know each other, until Beverly and Lawrence start sniping at each other.
Wannabe middle class aspiration makes for excruciating black humour
- Mike Leigh at the BBC: Abigail's Party review by RP
Based on a stage play, this is the 1977 BBC 'Play For Today' version. Written and directed by Mike Leigh, it translates well to the small screen. While it is a little dated, it is most definitely 'of its time' and the 1970s decor, dress, music and topics of wannabe middle class aspiration only add to the black humour. It makes for excruciatingly embarrassing viewing in places as the truly dreadful, pretentious hostess (astonishingly well played by Alison Steadman) entertains her hapless neighbours. I'm of an age where I saw the original, and seeing it again some 35 years later it is still superb stuff. 5/5 stars - highly recommended.