Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh

984 WordsJan 30, 20184 Pages
In a sense there is no Beverly. How far would you agree with this? Abigail’s Party is a play by Mike Leigh set in 1977 in Essex. One of the most prominent themes in the play is class mobility. This was a major interest in the 1970s and many lower middle class members of society were aspiring to be genuine middle class and beyond! The stereotypical ‘middle class’ social occasion would have been a dinner party, yet we find ourselves at a rather less ‘classy’ occasion in Abigail’s party. All of the characters in Abigail’s Party seem to symbolize an area of society: Laurence symbolizes the aspiring lower middle class, working man, trying to gain a higher social status; Susan symbolizes the already middle class citizen quite content to remain middle class; Angela and Tony together symbolize the lower middle class. Beverly is also lower middle class but you could argue that she is beyond categorization. At the time, in 1970’s Britain, class mobility was at its most agitated; therefore there was a sense of social aspiration and desire for improved lifestyles among the lower and lower middle classes.¬¬ Beverly’s ‘performance’ throughout the play is rather unsettling. It is not only a performance from the theatre perspective, yet arguably a performance for the other characters involved in the party. There doesn’t seem to be any depth to Beverly’s character; she appears to be like someone playing at being a person, an impersonation of a person. Ray Carney said: Even her dialogue seems

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