New production of Mike Leigh play Abigail's Party tours UK

Spectacular 1977 deconstruction of suburban aspiration

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New production of Mike Leigh play Abigail's Party tours UK

'It is a great period, the 70s,' laughs Martin Marquez, best known as Gino Primirola in TV's Hotel Babylon. 'It's far enough away now to appreciate -- I won't say its "style" -- but its fashion.' Marquez has the decade ringing around his head, as he is touring with Abigail's Party, Mike Leigh's spectacular deconstruction of suburban aspiration which premiered in 1977 and shot Alison Steadman to fame as hostess-from-Hell Beverly.

Marquez's Spanish father ensured a more sophisticated appreciation of world cuisine than his character, Beverly's put-upon husband Laurence. But he still carries a nostalgic spot for the decade's Chopper bikes, space hoppers and terminally bad taste.

'I'm loving playing Laurence,' he says, although he would have cast himself as taciturn ex-footballer, Tony. The drive and dynamic to the part stretch him -- sporting a moustache is not quite as fulfilling. The play has travelled better than the decade it portrays. 'You might think only an audience alive in the 70s will find it funny,' says Marquez, 'but although fashions have moved on, those observations of relationships, of people arguing in front of their guests seem to be still relevant and still cringeworthy and still funny.'

King's Theatre, Edinburgh, Mon 25 Feb--Sat 2 Mar

Abigail's Party

An adaptation of Mike Leigh's play satirising the pretensions of 1970s suburbia.

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