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Mike Leigh - Abigails Party DivX (Pink s) torrent
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Originating as a Hampstead Theatre production and first broadcast as part of Play for Today (BBC, 1970-84), 'Abigail's Party' (tx. 1/11/1977) is Mike Leigh's best-known television work, and perhaps the most celebrated TV play of the 1970s, as important to Play for Today as Ken Loach's 'Cathy Come Home' (tx. 16/11/1966) was to The Wednesday Play (BBC, 1964-71). Its enduring popularity has seen it staged in countless theatrical productions around the world, including a 2003 revival in London's West End.
The action, presenting an appalling evening of domestic entertaining in suburbia, takes place entirely in a confined living room in the home of Beverly (Alison Steadman) and Laurence (Tim Stern). The party which provides the play's title remains off-screen, initially misleading the audience into thinking that the real action is happening elsewhere.
'Abigail's Party' is morbidly compelling. None of the characters seems to like each other; the relationships between the couples appear to be based on mutual irritation and all seem self-preoccupied. Nor are any of them particularly likeable, which allows a comic mood to prevail even when events darken - Laurence's death, for example, is more farcical than it is tragic.
The play is dominated by Alison Steadman's mesmerising performance as the overbearing hostess Beverly, one of television's most memorable characterisations. Beverly's sing-song delivery of clichéd phrases fails to disguise a truly monstrous individual - she taunts her husband, flirts with Tony (John Salthouse) and manipulates her other guests for her own gain; her forced attempts at hospitality are to be endured rather than enjoyed. Yet Beverly's awfulness is captivating; she is an archetype of the aspiring middle-class matriarch. Defined by a set of attitudes which don't fit together, she hides her lack of identity behind received ideas of taste. Her motivation remains unclear; she easily controls the others but they seem to give her little in return, except to fuel her misplaced sense of power and mastery.