Quartet, Lowther Pavilion
Ronald Harwood’s 1999 comedy has enjoyed some stellar casts both on stage and screen – think Maggie Smith, Timothy West and Tom Courtenay. Here it is excellently acted by the Fylde Coast Players.
Set in a retirement home for famous opera singers the play explores how old age is a challenge for them in particular, yet how art transcends the ravages of time.
Ian Edmundson as Reggie leads the way with first-class soliloquies and subtle physical acting, whilst Jeff Redfern cleverly handles the unusual combination of constant sexual banter and human sympathy demanded by his role as Wilfred.
Poppy Flanagan’s clear direction allows the cast to pause at appropriate points, without losing impetus and the setting in the round creates a pleasing intimacy with the audience, though sometimes at the cost of audibility.
Teresa Mallabone is warm and comically confused as Cecily, making a fine contrast with Rosemary Roe who knows exactly how to portray Jean, a waspish but faded Diva. In the second half all four members of the cast in turn confess the secrets of their past before re-staging, curiously, a mimed performance of the Rigoletto quartet.
And there, again oddly, Harwood just stops, his exploration apparently done. A very responsive audience loved the top quality acting, but may have wished for a better ending.
Continues until tomorrow.