Amy chats with Alice De-Warrenne who is currently starring in London Classic Theatre’s touring production of Abigail’s Party which opened this week in Winchester.
Hi Alice, how are you feeling ahead of opening night?
I’m feeling very excited for opening night! We’ve all worked so hard on this production and the rehearsal room has been full of laughter. I hope the audiences enjoy watching the show as much as we’ve enjoyed making it!
How does it feel to be going on tour?
I’m really looking forward to going on tour. It’s always fun getting to explore a new town, meet new people and see how different audiences react to a show. It’s also such a privilege to take theatre to regions who may have less access to theatre than some of the bigger cities.
Tell us about Abigail’s Party, for those that haven’t seen the show before.
Abigail’s Party is set in a typical 1970’s living room – but the characters themselves are far from typical! Five unique personalities are thrown together for an awkward drinks party where the hosts are bickering, the guests are asking uncomfortable questions and everyone’s having too much to drink. It’s an achingly funny examination of British life – cheese and pineapple sticks and all!
What do you think makes this show a classic?
I think Mike Leigh’s fantastic writing makes the show a classic. As with many of his plays, the characters are all so unique and complex, they’re just fascinating to watch.
What attracted you to the role of Angela and this production?
Angela is such a great character to play! She’s the sort of person who says whatever pops into her head and will ask near strangers awkward questions and then fail to notice how uncomfortable she’s made them. This creates a lot of comedy watching the other characters squirm in their seats whilst Angela smiles sweetly and waits for a response!
I’m also thrilled to be part of a production company with such a wealth of experience producing modern classics. Michael Cabot has directed all 45 of LCT shows and so he really knows how to bring out the best performances from us actors.
What are the main themes / messages of the show?
The show explores class, aspiration and relationships. I wouldn’t say Mike Leigh is necessary trying to give a message with this piece but it’s as though he holds a mirror up to the audience and says ‘hey look at all these funny and strange things we humans do’.
You’ve starred in some incredible shows during your career, do you have any highlights?
Oh thank you! I think as a puppeteer my highlight was opening my first West End show as the title role in ‘Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever’. When you’ve dreamt about being a West End performer since you were little, the moment it happens is just so incredible. As an actor I think my highlight was appearing in ‘Under My Thumb’ with a group of super talented friends I’d made at drama school. We were lucky enough to take the show from Greenwich Theatre to Edinburgh Fringe where we all had the most amazing time.
Do you have any advice for budding actors?
I’d say make sure you put the work in before turning up to an audition room. If they’ve sent you a script, do the work on it, find your characters objectives, try to be as off book as you can, research the theatre company, basically do whatever you can to demonstrate your work ethic to the casting team. Obviously, it’s tricky when auditions are last minute or you’re working other jobs but a little extra work can make a huge difference.
And finally, why should people book a ticket to Abigail’s Party?
Abigail’s Party is such a classic, it’s one of the UK’s most performed plays for a reason and is one everyone should get to see at least once! It’s a great reason to come and support your local theatre and experience some 70’s nostalgia.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Abigail’s Party is on now at the Theatre Royal Winchester
Running from 1st – 4th March
Tickets from £15 – Info here
The show is part of a UK tour, heading to: Lowestoft, Chelmsford, Warwick, Cambridge, Doncaster, Newcastle, Bromley, Derby, Lincoln and more. Find out more here.