Boxford Drama Group are staging Ronald Harwood’s wonderfully poignant and very funny play Quartet.
We may not have the services of Maggie Smith and the other stars of 2012’s film but our actors are all of an age to be residents of the retirement home, in which the play is set!
Performances are on Friday 18th and on Saturday 19th of March. Local caterers, Food Glorious Food will be serving a 2 course supper in the interval and there will be a bar each evening.
TICKETS ON SALE IN BOXFORD POST OFFICE from Saturday
6th February and cost £13.00 each
Box River News Review:
It may have been the eminent writer, or perhaps the brilliant cast – maybe their appreciation of the Quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto – but this play certainly struck a chord with the Boxford audiences In this home for retired opera singers Boxford Drama Group created splendid sets of a Garden terrace and a Music room where the three who consider themselves ‘the élite’ gathered to pass the time.
Cecily (Elaine Carpenter) sat happily listening to music on her headphones. She was bubbly, jolly, excitable – everything is fun to her. Only her habit of welcoming everyone back from Karachi suggests that all is not well. No one has been there! Michael Keith’s Reginald sat huddled in a chair, withdrawn and concentrating on his study of the meaning of art. “Reggie likes things to be structured.” His sudden eruptions, hurling abuse at the distant matron, comes as a shock, out of character, but she had committed the cardinal sin of giving him apricot jam instead of marmalade at breakfast.
The best lines went to Will Carpenters Wilfred – a randy old man who delighted in talking dirty to the innocent Cecily – especially when she can’t hear him. His extensive list of all things bad about ageing hit several nerves with the audience and they laughed knowingly at every one. “Time does not so much pass slowly as hobble by on its own Zimmer frame.” Consternation ensued when they heard that the latest arrival is to be Jean (Jane Elliott) and when she entered we could see why. Tactless, overbearing, constantly reminding everyone of her Diva status, miserable and resentful to find herself reduced to joining the ‘inmates’ – . “Me – Me – On Charity!” – but her presence brought out revelations and secrets from all.
The biggest secret (to me at least unless I missed something) was how she eventually managed to become cheerful. The home celebrates Verdi’s birthday each year on 10th October by giving a concert. With the benefit of a little modern technology our Quartet did the same. superbly choreographed and perfectly mimed they sang! The Quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto to a recording they made together many years before. After some deliberation on the part of Reginald, it was decided that “Art is meaningless if it doesn’t make you feel.” This play made us feel – happy, sad, compassionate, thoughtful – but ended with the uplifting realisation that the body might be fading, but the spirit never dies, and so say all of us. I hardly need mention that all performances by these popular Drama Group actors were superb, with only a couple of slight stumbles in the text, swiftly recovered. Well, it was a retirement home! Many congratulations to the brilliant direction of David Phillips who must have had his hands full keeping this cast under control, and all the back room boys and girls.
The food at the interval was great as always. I am now looking forward to June 24/25 when the BDG will be presenting ‘Oh La La’ and this being the May edition of the Box River News, that is not so far away.