Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party is coming home to its Essex roots later this summer, alongside a brand new contemporary response to the cult classic.

The cast has been announced for the returning comedy, which is showing at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch between August 30 and September 22.

In the play Beverly Moss invites her neighbours over for drinks. Her husband, Laurence, comes home shortly before the guests arrive. The evening begins with a stiff, British awkwardness but descends into Beverly and her husband bickering before she gets drunks and begins to flirt with a male guest before events take a serious and dramatic turn.

Playing the socially awkward, aspirational hostess Beverly is Melanie Gutteridge. She is best known for her roles as PC Emma Keane in The Bill and Amy in Not Going Out. Her recent credits include the British-American horror film The Watcher in the Woods (directed by Melissa Joan Hart) and on stage in Roaring Trade at the Park Theatre.

She will be joined by Liam Bergin (Danny Mitchell in EastEnders), Amy Downham (Jen Gilmore in Hollyoaks), Susie Emmett (she performed opposite Richard E Grant in the film The Man Who Married Himself) and Christopher Staines (Hamlet, National Theatre) as Laurence.

According to Leigh, this delicious 70s comedy that cracks open social climbing suburbia was set in theoretical Romford and is notorious for its references to cheesy-pineapple and Demis Roussos. Made famous by the BBC Play for Today starring Alison Steadman, which was seen by 16 million viewers, audiences will not want to miss this great night out at the drinks party from hell.

This production is directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rope, Made in Dagenham) and co-produced with Derby Theatre, Wiltshire Creative and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

A Sign Language Interpreted Performance of Abigail’s Party will take place on September 19 at 7.30pm and there will also be a Dementia Friendly performance on September 20 at 1.30pm. Audio description is available at all performances.

The Queen’s Theatre and Derby Theatre have also commissioned a brand new play, Abi, which is a contemporary response to Abigail’s Party.

Abi is part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series and is written by one of Britain’s most exciting new writers, Atiha Sen Gupta (Skins, Holby City). RETOLD is a series of new one-woman plays commissioned by Derby Theatre.

It stars Safiyya Ingar (LAVA, Nottingham Playhouse; Growth UK Tour, Paines Plough) and is directed by Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director. Abi runs at the Queen’s Theatre from September 4 to 22.

Discounts are available for theatregoers who purchase tickets for Abigail’s Party and Abi together.

For more information about Abigail’s Party or Abi at the Queen’s Theatre call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk