A stylish, sharp and hilariously barbed satire

The Second World War is over and it’s time for the Skinner family to try to reclaim the pre-eminent social position they occupied before the “unpleasantness” began. And armed with invitations to a top notch garden party, on a sunny summer’s day in 1949, things are looking up... as long as sufficient petrol can be found to ensure the Skinners arrive in style... 

For aspiring politician Aubrey and his ditzy wife Blanche, everything must go smoothly – and the sudden return from Africa of their recently widowed daughter, Laura, promises to be the icing on the cake. Because even if their middle child Kathleen is somewhat bitter and twisted, and their youngest daughter Susan has a habit of overhearing precisely what she shouldn’t, Laura’s sense of duty and responsibility will readily compensate for her siblings’ deficiencies.

Except that when Laura arrives, she’s not only inappropriately dressed for a young widow in mourning, but more alarmingly, she’s accompanied. By a young man. And when Laura reveals to her family a shocking secret about her husband’s death, there a danger that the Skinners’ social ambitions may be about to go up in smoke... 

Based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, Before The Party is an acerbic, stylish and hilariously barbed portrait of the middle class adjusting to post-war life.

If you enjoyed PFT’s productions of Coward’s Present Laughter or Maugham’s Home And Beauty, then this rare revival of Rodney Ackland’s wickedly funny satire, full of comic subtleties, is for you!

star star star star

“A meticulously turned out production…which can’t help but chime with the times”

Herald
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“Seven-strong cast deliver with ruthless force… all acting up a storm.”

Scotsman

 “Perversely fascinating in its timeliness"

Times

"EXCELLENT septet from the current acting company, they give this party drink a taste of Champagne”

Courier

 “the black humour at the heart of the piece remains STRIKINGLY RELEVANT”

Stage

"Loved it! Slick and well-paced. Kept you intrigued the whole time!"

Audience member
Cast

Fiona Wood

Susan Skinner

Kirsty McDuff

Laura Skinner

Niamh Bracken

Kathleen Skinner

Deirdre Davis

Blanche Skinner

Irene-Myrtle Forrester

Nanny

Isaac Stanmore

David Marshall

Mark Elstob

Aubrey Skinner

  • Creative Team

    Director Gemma Fairlie

    Set and Costume Designer Amanda Stoodley

    Lighting Designer Wayne Dowdeswell

    Sound Designer RJ McConnell

    Stage Manager Kate Schofield

    Deputy Stage Manager (book) Heather Saunderson

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Groups (8+) don’t need to pay for tickets straight away – reserve your tickets and we'll hold your reservation for up to four weeks. Call your dedicated groups organiser Ruth on +44 (0)1796 484 626 to discover more about group discounts on tickets, transport, special offers and food options.