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Hurley Gown, Abigail’s Party, Duane Eddy: London Weekend

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Ballgown by Alexander McQueen
A feathery ballgown by Alexander McQueen, the late British fashion designer. The dress features in "Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950" at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The show ends in January 2013. Photographer: Christopher Moore/V&A via Bloomberg

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Beverly is the bossy-boots wife who smooches strong, silent Tony in front of her nervy husband. Tony’s mousy wife and neurotic neighbor Susan look on.

The London revival of Mike Leigh’s “Abigail’s Party” has Jill Halfpenny playing loudmouth Beverly. She delivers well-timed lines such as “just because a picture happens to be erotic, doesn’t make it pornographic.”

Her nastiness turns 1970s hell on earth into a bleak comedy. She hands around the booze, canapes and insults -- then pushes the others over the edge.

Wyndhams Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA. Information: or +44-844-482-5136.

If “Abigail’s Party” makes you crave a cocktail stick of cheese and canned pineapple, you’re out of luck.

More exotic snacks are available at Dishoom, a nearby Indian cafe, where the menu includes chili-cheese toast and pineapple & black-pepper crumble.

Information: or +44-20-7420-9320.


Liz Hurley’s figure-hugging dress is now a museum piece.

Not the one held together with safety pins: the long floral gown that the model wore in 1999 for an Estee Lauder cosmetics commercial. It’s now fitted on a mannequin in the V&A’s “Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950” show.

Up a grand flight of stairs in the slickly refurbished fashion galleries are more recent red-carpet numbers. There’s Annette Bening’s black jumpsuit, Sandra Bullock’s off-shoulder tulle gown, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s asymmetrical gala dress.

The emphasis being on British design, there are few, if any, French gowns in the mix. The show runs from May 19 through Jan. 6, 2013.

Information: or +44-20-7942-2000.

Cassis, a short walk from the V&A, is a stylish French bistro where your best party frock wouldn’t look out of place. It’s owned by Marlon Abela, the restaurateur whose venues include Umu and the Greenhouse in London and A Voce in the Time Warner Center, New York. Information: or +44-20-7581-1101.

Saturday Night

Spend the night with a mummy.

The British Museum is hosting a sleepover as part of the nationwide Museums at Night weekend. Alternatives include life drawing at the National Portrait Gallery, lifting a 13-kilo gold bar at the Bank of England Museum, or gazing at the galaxy inside the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.



Duane Eddy brings his twangy rock ‘n’ roll sound to London for a rare show that will revive hits such as “Rebel Rouser” and “Peter Gunn.”

The 74-year-old guitarist sounds as good as his 1950s heyday when he was seen as a rival to Elvis Presley.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Information:, or +44-20-7960-4200.

To contact the writers on the story: Mark Beech in London at;; Farah Nayeri in London at;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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