Over the hump
This was the second play from the week that I had actually heard of. Abigail’s Party. I had no idea what it was but I had a vague idea that it was from 70s and a quick scan over the blurb confirmed my suspicions. But still… I didn’t really know what to expect.
The characters comprised of two couples and a single woman who all get together for a party.
Couple one was a very brash, bold woman (Beverly) married to a workaholic, straight-laced man (Laurence). I can only assume that have grown apart over the years and they were more alike when they met.
Couple two contrasted even more sharply. The woman (Angela) was… A free spirit shall we say, dressed in floor length skirt, floaty oversized blouse, poncho and hair ribbon. She also seemed, again being polite, to be a little dim. Having said that she was a nurse so maybe she just switches off outside of work. Her husband (Tony) however… Was a bloke. You know… Vest… England shorts… Spoke in single word sentences. I do not know how these guys got together at all!
And our final friend for the evening is a divorcee (Susan) whose daughter is having her own party down the road. We never actually meet Abigail… Even though the play is named for her.
Anyway… The general gist, is that everyone gets a bit drunk and either worries, stresses, shouts, flirts and argues. It was funny enough… But I really struggled with the surface level content of the play. It’s so obvious that both couples are struggling in their relationships. Beverly is clearly fed up of Laurence spending all his time and attention on work, and he is evidently fed up of Beverly’s lack of finesse, class and style. They are just not the same… He is so impressed with himself for liking olives and Shakespeare and I think sees himself as a bit posh. He tries to impress Sue, who seems to share his taste while Beverly makes it no secret that she is impressed by Tony’s physique and ‘manliness’. Angela is just happy to eat all the crisps.
There is a brief mention of childhoods which Tony snaps at, suggesting there is something deeper going on there and full on shouts at Angela at one point, ordering her to get up and leave the party even though she wants to stay. The tension between them really intrigued me as to what the difficulties were in their relationship, it felt to me that Tony might be controlling but again NOTHING came of the outbursts.
I won’t spoil the ending but I was very disappointed that we didn’t actually find out anything meaningful about the characters and their lives. Oh well… Can’t have everything.