From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sun Mar 5 10:04:50 2017
ABIGAIL'S PARTY (1977)
A film review by David N. Butterworth
Copyright 2017 David N. Butterworth
***1/2 (out of ****)
Okay, you got me. The truth is I really *do* own a Demis Roussos record.
Not one of his big mid-70's hits, like "Forever and Ever" or "Happy to Be
on an Island in the Sun," but an obscure 7-inch gem of a 45-rpm single on
which the fat Greek (as he affectionately came to be known) croons "Maybe Someday," John Barry's haunting love theme from the 1976 remake of "King
Kong" with lyrics by Robert Constandinos (not to be confused with Andy Williams' rendition of the same exact tune entitled "Are You In There?"
with lyrics by David Pomeranz--that one had a disco version on the flip!).
Why do I mention all this? Well, director Mike Leigh ("Topsy-Turvy," "Vera Drake," "Mr. Turner") has himself said that Demis Roussos has become
strangely synonymous with his stage-play-turned-television-film "Abigail's Party" and Demis Roussos is certainly one of my favorite takeaways from
this almost-perfect satire. "Abigail's Party" wasn't the first Mike Leigh production I saw--that was the equally acerbic "Grownups"--but it's
definitely the one that's stuck with me over the years, with Alison Steadman--Leigh's wife at the time--in a career-defining turn as Beverly,
the repulsively-flirtatious suburban social climber who doesn't realize
that a nice Beaujolais need not be refrigerated. The Roussos reference
comes as Beverly addresses her beleaguered husband: "Laurence, Angela likes Demis Roussos. Tony likes Demis Roussos, I like Demis Roussos, and Sue
would like to hear Demis Roussos: so please, d'you think we could have
Demis Roussos on?" "Abigail's Party" is like a train derailment from which
you cannot avert your horrified gaze. It's also, not unlike Demis Roussos, significantly funnier.