88 Views

Star Quality

Noel Coward’s Star Quality is a play within a play, in which drama ensues not only on stage but off stage also; with the scriptwriter, director and leading lady constantly at odds about how to portray the dialogue. The play was Coward’s last, and true to form is a mixture of satire, wit and cynicism. I went to see the opening night of Christopher Luscombe’s new, travelling adaptation on Monday night at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, with a theatre going novice. I was interested to see how they reacted to the experience as a regular theatre goer who thoroughly enjoys the experience. The two of us did not know what to expect, as I only knew Coward’s play Blythe Spirit, I assumed that the play would be thoroughly entertaining and full of humour; it did not disappoint.

 

The play began with Bryan Snow, the writer of play Dark Heritage meeting with the overly dramatic, theatrical lovey, and leading lady, Lorraine Barrie who is incredibly enthusiastic about the play that he has produced and is incredibly sexually overt with the clearly shy, new scriptwriter. Liza Goddard, who is well known in the theatrical and television world, played Lorraine with zealous, and managed to portray not only the concept of an actress caught in a pre-war world who does not agree with the new wave of directors she has to encounter, but also the conniving actress who will not let anyone get in the way of her chosen part.

 

The play continued with the introduction of the director that is to cause the tension between scriptwriter and leading lady, Ray Malcolm. We are shown the first read through of the play, with the terrible actress Marion Blake acting in a style that can only be described as atrocious – it is clear why Lorraine wants her so much to play Stella in the performance. There is a strange slow motion piece in which time is shown to pass, which both myself, and my guest thought was somewhat out of place and odd directorial decision by Joe Harmston. The relationship between Lorraine and Ray is interesting to watch as the two try to re-write the final scene of the play. The way in which Coward shows the intricate relations between the characters is both humorous and very clever.

 

During the interval, my guest and I discussed the play so far, with differing views. He believed that Daniel Casey (best known for playing Sgt. Troy in Midsomer Murders) was stealing the show as Ray, playing him with all the cold, reserved nature that a modern, innovative director would maintain. Whereas I believed that Gay Sopper as Lorraine’s maid stole most of the scenes she was in, as reminded me heavily of the character Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques.

 

The second half of the play concerns the re-writing of the final scene and practising the play. There is a lot of focus on the homosexual undertones within the writing, which could have been used as a way of opening the audiences mind up to how heavily populated the theatre, is with homosexual men, but instead turns some scenes into something more of a pantomime. The character of Tony, in particular, was incredibly camp, and in many ways, highly inappropriately used. As the opening night closes in on the characters, drama ensues with a highly charged scene between Ray and Lorraine which expressed this division between pre-war and post-war attitudes within the world of the theatre. I shall not ruin the ending for anyone interested in seeing the play, which I do recommend greatly, but will say that it is in many ways unexpected. When the curtain fell, I turned to my guest and asked if they had enjoyed their first experience of the theatre, which had included a trip to the bar and ice cream in the interval, and they replied that they had. Which for me is a great compliment towards the production, as captivated a new audience with what could have been seen as a highly outdated play, and convinced them to see more plays; a true success.

 

 

Imogen Towner

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
505 views1
Campus News
505 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
43 views
Arts
43 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
87 views
Arts
87 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
89 views
Arts
89 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
112 views
Arts
112 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
134 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
146 views
Arts
146 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
138 views
Arts
138 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
220 views
Campus News
220 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
102 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
206 views
Arts
206 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
134 views
Arts
134 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
211 views
Artist Focus
211 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
146 views
Interview
146 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
237 views
Arts
237 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
274 views
Arts
274 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
189 views
Artist Focus
189 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
198 views
Books
198 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
251 views
Science
251 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
260 views
News
260 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…