Quiz Review at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Quiz Review at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Quiz by James Graham

Newcastle Theatre Royal, 4th September 2023

I have been looking forward to seeing this show for months and my anticipation was well rewarded at The Theatre Royal this evening with a superb cast of very hard-workingperformers and a gripping and interactive performance which challenged minds, amused, and thoroughly entertained. 

Quiz, written by James Graham and directed by Daniel Evans and Seán Linnen, is based on the story of Charles and Diana Ingram who appeared at different times on the globally successfully phenomenon that was and is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. They are famous for being involved in the coughing scandal which rocked the show back in the early 2000’s which the press dined out on for weeks. 

The set is very cleverly dual purpose and offers the suggestion of a court room while being obviously based on the set of the ITV quiz show originally hosted by radio star and TV legend, Chris Tarrant. Taking up the role of Mr Tarrant is the immense skill of impressionist Rory Bremner who is every bit the star as he reproduces all the idiosyncrasies and facial expressions of the man himself. If you are going to employ someone with the range of Mr Bremner then you are going to make sure you pander to his brilliance but further than that I will say no more. 

Mark Benton takes on no fewer than five roles in this production and he is as wonderful as he is adorable in each and every one of them. There is something about Mark Benton that is instantly appealing without even bringing in his wealth of experience on both stage and screen. He has some of the best lines in this script which he delivers with aplomb even when he fluffed one towards the end of the second act. 

Lewis Reeves recreates Major Charles Ingram and along with his wife Diana Ingram (Charley Webb) offer two possible scenarios as to how the whole sordid affair played out on TV, in the media and behind closed doors. Sukh Ojla is wonderful in her many roles including a fantastic production manager who most people in the TV business would recognise. The whole cast deliver realistic portrayals as their characters and I would like to name check them all but time would restrict me from doing so. 

The first half of the show suggests the story as anyone who was around at the time may remember it while the second half offers a slightly different narrative which shows the main antagonists of the narrative in a more sensitive light and offers the audience the chance to change their opinion. I really liked this idea even if the message of media manipulation, political turmoil and the curse of binary thinking felt a little laboured in the second act.

The opening scenes of the second act are particularly clever and I really enjoyed the action during the karaoke night at the Ingram’s local pub which was neatly signalled in Act One. Bravo, kMr Graham. 

This is a thoroughly entertaining play which offers a great deal of humour throughout. The score which is very carefully composed to hint at the Who Wants to be a Millionaire without actually being it, also has nods to other TV show music peppered throughout it to which credit must go to the composers and sound designers, Ben and Max Ringham. 

If I were to be asked if you should go to see ‘Quiz’ at Newcastle Theatre Royal then it would be an unequivocable yes, I would not need to ask the audience, phone a friend, or take 50/50 and that is my final answer. 

Quiz plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 7thOctober.

Discover more from Home

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading