a way to deal with the hassle of the MF is to try and go hyper-focal.
if you go here: http://dofmaster.com/doftable.html
and enter your camera model and the focal length of your prime, you can manually preset your focal length for any given aperture you choose and see the range in which your subjects will be in focus.
If you make your settings cover a reasonably wide DOF, you can be covered for most situations and still enjoy the sharpness of your prime.
Unless you're going for a portrait-type set-up with soft backgrounds, an aperture of F4.5 to F7 should cover your DOF needs in most indoor party-situations with a 50mm lens..but your style may well be different than mine, so I urge you to experiments. And yes, you are likely to need flash every now and then, to help you out.