The Abbey Theatre

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The Abbey TheatreThe Abbey TheatreThe Abbey Theatre

Built in 1967, the Abbey Theatre’s 230-seat auditorium and 70-80 seat studio theatre allow flexible year-round programming. It is home to:

  • The Company of Ten: St Albans’ main amateur dramatics group with over 400 members staging up to 10 productions each season. Newcomers are welcome to join for a small fee of £35/year
  • A youth theatre group: the Company of Teens (for 14-to-19-year-olds)
  • The Abbey Theatre Club: supporters receive a monthly newsletter and priority booking for a modest membership fee

Join the theatre’s free mailing list, view a seating plan and buy tickets online.

Overview

  • Dates and times: Box office: Mon-Sat 9.30am-12 noon
  • Hire information: Main theatre (230 seats), studio theatre (78 seats), club room and foyer available for hire. Licensed bar and beverage service provided. Contact the theatre manager to discuss further.

Address and Contact info

  • Address: Westminster Lodge, Holywell Hill
  • Town: St Albans
  • County: Herts
  • Postcode: AL1 2DL

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Review Overview

The Colours of Kenny Roach by Rebecca Russell - review by herts critic

Kenny Roach is a highly talented artist beset by a serious alcohol addiction that threatens both his work and his marriage in this new play by Rebecca Russell. John Stenhouse as Kenny is highly believable, fleetingly charismatic, but increasingly angry, paranoid, threatening, jealous and delusional as his alcoholism takes hold. 'What is Art?' asks Kenny in the first of his art lectures with which the play opens, and for him it is clearly a baring of the soul, leaving him railing against uncomprehending critics ('I know I'm good, but I have to wait til they see it too') and the art world, but in particular his long-suffering wife.

Rebecca Russell elicits the audience's sympathy as Lisa, and her monologues are particularly moving, but the play itself is largely unrelenting, punctuated only by the occasional humorous note in Kenny's lectures and the excellent art of Clare McInnerny and Alice Moloney, cleverly built in to the set through multimedia projection. Lisa's role is a thankless one, dramatically, as she almost becomes a narrator, explaining Kenny's artistic insecurity, her collusion with his façade, and his ability to enter a 'private world' of drink. The music of The Smiths hardly lightens the tone either.

Clearly the story is an important one, and the play tackles ambitious and difficult themes as Kenny's drinking turns him into the two-headed monster in his wife Lisa's painting. The banal, repetitive, cyclical marital arguments that the addiction provokes ('it's just a few drinks with the lads... I can handle it') are laid bare, and violence - and the threat of it - are never far from the surface. Arguably, however, Kenny is not initially likeable enough in the first instance to hold the audience's affection, and the importance of his art is not fully revealed, which makes his moral descent and the loss of his muse harder to sympathise with. All in all, the dialogue is well written and well performed, and the play is capably directed with an even pace - affecting, tragic and occasionally inspiring. Verdict - Queen of Herts (3 out of 5) [Jun 10]

24 Jun 10
2010-06-24T09:58:18.0000000+01:00
3
The Abbey Theatre
Recommended - review by poodey

Another solid performance by the talented Company of Ten group. 'Taking Sides' is an investigation into art and politics in post-war Germany - sound heavy, but it's handled delicately with warm moments of humour. It's only on 'til Saturday 30th Jan so get in quick. [Jan 10]

25 Jan 10
2010-01-25T10:09:49.0000000+00:00
4
The Abbey Theatre

60%

User Rating: 3 out of 5  ( 2 reviews )

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