Review: In need of adrenaline shot

Everyman Theatre production of Ronald Harwood's comedy Quartet, starring Paul Nicholas (left), Wendi Peters, Sue Holderness and Jeff Rawle (right) '''Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com''The photographic copyright (� 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.
Everyman Theatre production of Ronald Harwood's comedy Quartet, starring Paul Nicholas (left), Wendi Peters, Sue Holderness and Jeff Rawle (right) '''Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com''The photographic copyright (� 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

QUARTET, LYCEUM

Donald Harwood’s play, which was a star-studded film five years ago, promises to be a richly enjoyable theatrical experience.

Donald Harwood’s play, which was a star-studded film five years ago, promises to be a richly enjoyable theatrical experience.

Four eccentric former opera singers living in a luxurious retirement home facing up to the trials and indignities of old age re-discover their best selves though a performance of their greatest triumph, the quartet from Verdi’s Riogoletto.

Bass Paul Nicholas as slightly sleazy Wilf retains some twinkly charm but peppers his conversation with a stream of smut and innuendo - which in these #MeToo times is just a little uncomfortable - buxom alto Cissie (Wendi Peters, suitably OTT) is now on the verge of dementia, while tenor Reg (Jeff Rawle in full-on hangdog mode) is a seemingly gentlemanly art-lover, although with a mania for marmalade. The three are disturbed by the arrival of Reg’s ex-wife, star soprano Jean, (a curiously muted Sue Holderness) who disrupts their existence, but at least enables the plot to move forward. Directed by Peter Rowe, Quartet is a creaky, wooden, old-fashioned affair, with some rather unconvincing acting.

The foursome have a motto- NSP – ‘no self-pity’ - and there are some genuinely poignant reflections about memory loss, physical decline and stoical acceptance of the ageing process.

But rather than a celebration of defiance in the face of old age and a raging against the dying of the light, it’s a play on life support. This Cheltenham Everyman production is in need of a huge shot of adrenaline.

Jane Tadman

Jane Tadman