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Before The Party - Almeida Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

RODNEY Ackland’s Before The Party, based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, runs at the Almeida Theatre from March 28 (previews from March 21) to May 11, 2013.

The war is over and the Skinner family are trying to return to normal. If only the blasted Government weren’t such a nuisance about the rations and Cook could get some more of those delicious delicacies. With daughter Laura returned from Africa, widowed but not alone, they prepare for the latest social gathering.

Amidst the never-ending whirl of hats and dresses and below stairs skirmishes, Laura reveals a shocking secret that threatens to ruin more than one party on the climb to social success.

Before The Party will be directed by director, playwright and actor Matthew Dunster, whose directing credits include Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Mogadishu (Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith) and Love The Sinner (National Theatre).

His play Children’s Children received its world premiere at the Almeida earlier this year directed by Jeremy Herrin. Dunster’s other writing credits include an adaptation of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Royal Exchange Theatre), an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells Theatre) and You Can See The Hills (Royal Exchange Theatre and Young Vic).

Playwright Rodney Ackland (1908 – 1991) wrote over 40 plays, including Improper People, Birthday, The Dark River and Absolute Hell. He also adapted novels for the stage, among them Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Matthew Dunster’s production of Before The Party will be the first in over 25 years.

Before The Party will be designed by Anna Fleischle, with lighting by Philip Gladwell and sound by Ian Dickinson. Casting will be announced shortly.