DramaReviewSouth East

Quartet – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Writer: Ronald Harwood

Director: Peter Rowe

Reviewer: Molly Richardson

Quartet tells of four retired and aging opera singers, who have taken residence in a care home. First, we meet trio Cecily (Wendi Peters), Reggie (Jeff Rawle) and Wilfred (Paul Nicholas), who are unearthing the mystery of who the new ‘star’ resident is to be – there are mixed reactions when the group discovers its former band member Jean (Sue Holderness). The four find their past resurface, causing tensions to quickly arise, but the show must go on for the annual gala.

While the premise of Ronald Harwood‘s script is charming, and the story tactfully broaches on the truths of growing old, living in a care home, changing relationships and points of view, and all of their highs, lows, and funnies; the show itself is a slow burner. Its as though the audience are waiting for something more, and it just never quite gets there.

With a cast of six at most, but ultimately four, there’s no denying these familiar faces have talent. Nicholas had the dirty jokes and quick wit of Wilfred down to a fine art, and despite his character perhaps not being in the best of tastes when you reflect it against recent news, such as the #MeToo campaign – he without a doubt had the audience in the palm of his hand. What is it with us Brits laughing at things we probably shouldn’t? However, Wendi Peters also challenges the audience’s attention as she plays the delightfully madcap Cecily with pure charm. Jeff Rawle and Sue Holderness, as Reggie and Jean respectfully, showcased a natural chemistry and their scenes together were engaging to watch.

The set remains in the care home up until the ending with the big performance, and its design is simplistic, yet effective with great perspective. The costumes for the final performance is where set and costume designers Phil R Daniels’ and Charles Cusick-Smith’s work really shines – they are loud, eccentric and ridiculous but its perfect for the Quartets final bow.

Overall, this revival of Quartet makes for an amusing evening out, and it will certainly give you a few good laughs and leave you with a sense of warmth.

Runs until Saturday 3rd March 2018 | Image: Contributed

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Charming revival.

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The Reviews Hub - South East

The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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