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Abigail's Party Review

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A group of terribly Suburban English adults attend a soiree held by uptight hostess Beverley whilst her teenage daughter is throwing her own party two doors down. Undercurrents of frustration and awkwardness threaten to break through at any moment.

★★★★★

Originally conceived for radio, the BBC TV play is a painfully funny expose of the mores and desires underpinning a suburban cocktail party and established the hallmarks of Mike Leigh's style genius - astute observation, droll wit (watch lanky Sue dancing with pint-sized Roger) - all carried off by a perfect cast.

At its centre is a superlative performance from Alison Steadman as Beverly, the hostess from hell, seductively swaying around a living room to her beloved Demis Roussos LPs. It gets worse - her husband prefers James Galway.

Uncomfortable viewing but perceptively played and psychologically astute about a certain section of British society in the 1970s.