Whatever happened to Abigail?

Safiyya Ingar

It’s been over 40 years since Mike Leigh’s gauche hostess Beverly slow-danced her way into theatrical history, but what happened to Abigail?

Well you are about to find out as Derby Theatre and the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch have joined forces to commission Abi, a contemporary response to the classic comedy Abigail’s Party. 

Abi is the story of 15-year-old Abisheera (Abi for short), the granddaughter of Abigail. 

After one of her regular visits to see her grandmother in hospital, Abi decides to throw her one last party, convinced it will get her beloved Nan back on her feet. But as she tries to clear her head and her grandmother’s flat, family secrets begin to surface. Will Abigail’s past threaten Abi’s already fragile present?

Abi, written by Atiha Sen Gupta (Skins, Holby City), one of Britain’s exciting new writers, is the latest in Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series of new one-woman plays, which aim to crack open the classics and see the story afresh from the perspective of a female character. 

Abi is directed by Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre’s artistic director and runs from September 29-Saturday, October 20, as a companion piece to their revival production of Abigail’s Party, which is co-produced with Wiltshire Creative and international partner Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

Abi stars Safiyya Ingar who is currently filming with the BBC in Stephen Poliakoff’s period drama Summer of Rockets. 

Brigham, said: “I am excited to be producing this exciting new play by Atiha Sen Gupta with the very talented Safiyya Ingar (pictured above). 

“Atiha is one of the most exciting new playwrights in the country and I know Safiyya will deliver a powerhouse of a performance in this one woman show which explores the heartache of growing up and offers a fresh new perspective to the timeless classic of Abigail’s Party.”

Performing in Abigail’s Party will be Liam Bergin, Amy Downham, Susie Emmett, Melanie Gutteridge and Christopher Staines.

Abigail’s Party is widely considered a classic of 20th-century British drama for its tragi-comedy and acute satire on the class-consciousness and social climbing of 1970s Britain. It was made famous by the BBC’s Play for Today starring Alison Steadman, which was seen by 16 million viewers.

Abigail’s Party will run from Wednesday, 26 September-Saturday, 20 October.
For ticket details go to http://www.derbytheatre.co.uk