‘Amazing’ Grace shares secrets at Abbey Theatre

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels - Credit: Archant

Secrets are at the heart of Entertaining Angels, the first play of the new season at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

The comedy by Richard Everett, which is being performed by the Company of Ten from next Friday, September 18, until Saturday, September 26, is about family secrets as well as faith, loss, confession and forgiveness.

The plot centres around Grace, a clergy wife, who has spent a lifetime on her best behaviour. With the death of her beloved husband Bardolph, she is enjoying her new found freedom to do exactly as she pleases.

She needs time to consider her future but the new vicar is keen to move in and take over the parish, Grace’s daughter, Jo, is pestering her to tie up loose ends and move on and her estranged sister, Ruth, an eccentric missionary, won’t leave either.

As Grace turns to her dead husband for answers, leaving her family thinking she has gone potty, secrets gradually emerge from unexpected quarters. One of them leaves Grace reeling - and on the warpath.

Entertaining Angels, which is set in a vicarage garden, opened at the Chichester Festival in 2006 and starred Penelope Keith. It played to a record-breaking 26,000 people in three weeks. Since then, this much acclaimed play has been performed all over the world, and is a huge hit with audiences and theatre companies alike.

As Jill Priest, who plays daughter Jo, pointed out: “This is a play where one minute you are crying with laughter, the next moment with heartbreak, the next with laughter again. The funny lines just keep coming.”

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Director Lee Harris added: “One of the biggest things I’ve learnt from this production is that the truth can set you free. It certainly does that for Grace. For her, and her family, the truth will come out eventually, whether they want it to or not, and when it does, the fallout is life-changing.”

Performances start at 8pm next Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19, and from Tuesday, September 22, to Saturday, September 26. There is also a Sunday matinee at 2.30pm.

An additional free service of audio description for blind or partially sighted people is offered on Thursdday, September 24.

To book tickets or for further information go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.