Melanie hosts Abigail’s Party at Derby Theatre

Published: 20 September 2018
Reporter: Steve Orme

Amy Downham (Angela) and Melanie Gutteridge (Beverly) in Abigail’s Party Credit: Mark Sepple
Safiyya Ingar who appears in Abi

Melanie Gutteridge will play socially awkward, aspirational hostess Beverly in Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party, Derby Theatre’s big autumn 2018 production.

Gutteridge is known for her television roles as PC Emma Keane in The Bill and Amy in Not Going Out. Her stage credits include Steve Thompson’s Roaring Trade at Park Theatre, London in 2015.

She will be joined by Susie Emmett (Susan), Amy Downham (Angela), Christopher Staines (Laurence) and Liam Bergin (Tony).

According to Leigh, this 1970s comedy that cracks open social-climbing suburbia was set in theoretical Romford and is notorious for its references to cheesy pineapple and Demis Roussos.

The production is directed by Douglas Rintoul, artistic director of the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch which is co-producing the show with Derby Theatre, Wiltshire Creative and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Lee Newby is set and costume designer, Zoe Spurr is lighting designer and Ivan Stott is sound designer.

Abigail’s Party runs at Derby Theatre from Wednesday 26 September until Saturday 20 October.

Derby Theatre and the Queens Theatre have also commissioned a new play Abi, a contemporary response to Abigail’s Party. Abi is part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series of one-woman plays and is written by Atiha Sen Gupta.

Safiyya Ingar plays Abi. Derby Theatre’s artistic director Sarah Brigham directs. Abi runs at Derby Theatre from Saturday 29 September until Saturday 20 October.