Quiz @ Noel Coward Theatre

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information: http://quiztheplay.com
Running until: 16th June 2018
Production photos by: Johan Persson

After hit plays such as Labour of Love, Ink and This House, another smash hit from writer James Graham has landed on the West End via a brief run in Chichester. Quiz is a play based on the trial of Charles Ingram, a man who won £1 Million on the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 2001 but, along with his wife Diana and her brother Adrian, was accused of cheating and became a worldwide scandal. The first act of the play presents the prosecuting evidence of the trial, while the second act presents the defending evidence of the trial. The audience, often referred to as the jury in the play, can decide on their verdict at the end of each act with a keypad that’s attached to their seats, creating an interactive atmosphere.

What I didn’t anticipate with the play was how interactive it was going to be. Not only does the audience get to vote on whether Charles & Diana were guilty, but you can vote on a question as part of an episode. In addition, there’s a pub quiz to take part in too (which I failed spectacularly at!). There is a section in the first act that takes the audience through a brief history of UK game shows that have passed including Take Your Pick, Bullseye and The Price Is Right. Director Daniel Evans has assembled a fantastic ensemble, many of whom play multiple parts.

QUIZ
QUIZ by Graham, , Writer – James Graham, Director – Daniel Evans, Designer – Robert Jones, Chichester Festival Theatre, 2017, Credit: Johan Persson

The standout for me was Keir Charles who, not only full on embodied Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant, but he also plays the hosts of the shows mentioned above too. It’s crystal clear how charismatic he is with audience, it’s no wonder he also plays the Warm Up Man at the start of both acts too. Gavin Spokes is additionally wonderful in this as Charles Ingram, it’s great to see him in a leading role after his very underused turn in Against at the Almeida last year. Stephanie Street is also excellent and intriguing as Charles’ borderline quiz obsessive wife Diana. Her performance is so nuanced and layered that I instantly wanted to know more about her and her decisions. To be honest, this was a big driving force in why I do think they were ultimately guilty.

In terms of stage design, the neon lighting designed by Tim Lutkin and set design by Robert Jones really create an immersive feel, I felt like I was about to walk into an episode of the shows. James Graham’s writing packs the usual ingredients; political intrigue, well rounded characters and a dash of humour. But what makes this incredible theatre is how much of an experience it is. There’s no right or wrong answer, instead this allows the audience to create a discussion as they leave the theatre. I’ve always thought the thing that makes theatre good is if I can still think and talk about it days later.

Until next time,

hayley-sprout-transparent

 

 

 

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