Party time at Theatre Royal

Hannah Waterman and Martin Marquez in a rehearsal shot for Abigail's Party
Hannah Waterman and Martin Marquez in a rehearsal shot for Abigail's Party

Following a triumphant West End season, Mike Leigh’s classic comedy comes to the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, from January 21-26.

Hannah Waterman, Martin Marquez, Samuel James, Katie Lightfoot and Emily Raymond star in Abigail’s Party, one of the most popular plays ever written.

Donna Summer is playing on the stereo. Dishes of cheese and pineapple are on the coffee table…the social get-together from hell is about to begin.

Beverly, and estate agent husband Laurence, have invited round new neighbours Tony and Ange and nervous divorcee Sue, twitchy about the party her 15-year-old daughter, Abigail, is throwing over the road.

As Beverly plies the guests with alcohol, cigarettes, Demis Roussos and nibbles, this horribly compelling evening descends into drunkenness and debauchery. Comedy, drama and tragedy combine into an iconic piece of theatre.

This ruthlessly accurate and painfully funny observation of the pretensions of suburbia comedy became an instant classic when it first appeared as a BBC Play For Today in 1977.

Hannah Waterman is best known for her role as Laura Beale in EastEnders. Following her departure from the show, she has performed extensively in theatre productions both on tour and in the West End, including Carrie’s War, Rattle of a Simple Man and The Vagina Monologues (on tour) and Calendar Girls (on tour and West End).

Joining her is Martin Marquez, most recently seen in the West End in Billy Elliot and soon to be seen in the upcoming film version of Les Misérables.

Mike Leigh is one of Britain’s most influential theatre and film directors. His numerous awards have included Best Comedy award for the stage play Goose Pimples, a BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema, National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film for Life is Sweet, Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival for Naked, the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Secrets and Lies and an Oscar for Topsy Turvy.

Lindsay Posner recently directed the all-star revival of Noises Off at the Old Vic and Butley, A View from the Bridge and Fiddler on the Roof in the West End and Relatively Speaking on tour and soon to open in the West End.

Tickets cost £14-£27.50 (plus concessions). Call the box office at the Royal Centre on 0115 989 5555.