Stage Review

Abigail's Party (2005)

EW's GRADE
C

Details Opening Date: Dec 01, 2005; Lead Performances: Jennifer Jason Leigh and Max Baker; Writer: Mike Leigh; Director: Scott Elliott

Someday, Jennifer Jason Leigh will do something without using a funny voice; today is not that day. In this revival of Abigail's Party, Mike Leigh's 1977 comedy about a cocktail party gone awry, Ms. Leigh — whose character choices are generally daring or at least tolerable — affects a squawking middle-class British accent to portray a housewife with pretensions toward the fabulous. It's the sort of persona that can only exist within a theater's chummy three walls; anywhere else on earth, she'd be tuned out, if not slapped repeatedly. But the bigger problem is, why dredge up this play? With tired observations about marriage, children, and the aftereffects of alcohol, Party's more of a relic than a find.

Originally posted Dec 02, 2005 Published in issue #853 Dec 09, 2005 Order article reprints
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