Quartet – a theatrical review

Having been surprised by an invite to join some friends this evening to see Quartet at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre I’m delighted to say I was not disappointed. The lighthearted and joyous delivery of this show performed with beautifully on point comic timing and some beautiful one liners thrown with stunning comic confidence – from both Wendi Peters and Paul Nicholas – was truly enjoying to watch.

The set was gorgeous and invited you to feel the stature of these four characters’ environment, you could almost smell the rich age of the wood panelling within which they sat and feel the subtle breeze that could be seen gently waving the thin curtains like gossamer threads. It certainly painted a contented picture.

The use of architecture was very homely, you felt the comfort the three, more long term characters had in their new surroundings, but not without their own personal physical discomforts.

The physicality throughout was mostly subtle and endearing and familiar but unaffraid to be comical at times. It felt at times in the first act that it was almost too sedentary but that it kept just the right side of that balance to keep me engaged. And in the second act the cast’s physicality came into it’s own with the preparation and naturally more animated parts of the show.

Paul Nicholas’s delivery was on point and a real stand out performance for me; with his dry wit, sexual references, and sarcastic comments. Delivered with such ease and joy, seeming to delight in the constant berating by his companions.

Which is not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the performances of the rest of the cast. Wendi Peters for example, who I thought was fabulously cast as Cecily Robson – with her almost ‘Kitty-esque’ cadence and at times childish energy making a refreshing change of pace always stumbling either physically or vocally into the scene.

Jeff Rawle beautifully played the steadfast, if somewhat explosive, member of the group – stepping up to take the reins and enforce some structure to the chaos. His desire to question and define art was endearing, and his sincere dislike for the nurse was a gorgeous distraction to both him and the audience throughout.

And finally Sue Holderness played Jean with a lovely energy which instantly made you feel there was more to her than her first impression would have you believe. The disappointment at being in such a place and her snobbish attitude towards other residents brought in a lovely conflict to the room. But she travelled both physically and vocally throughout the piece, by the end seeming to embrace the comfort of her new surroundings in the same way her friends did.

The final moments were beautifully presented and it was hard not to smile and revel in what these four characters had achieved. I ended the show with a lovely smile on my face and a beautiful phrase left lingering in my mind:

“Art is nothing if it doesn’t make you feel”

So thank you to all involved for a lovely heart-warming show with some good chuckles on the way.


A silence so thick, so deafening

I can feel it closing in around my cage

The cage supposing to protect my heart

The silence stifles as I force my breath to engage

A silence to cold, like lightening

I can feel it’s breath taking hold of my heart

The breath supposing to offer a beat of peace

Where my breath stutters, Silence’s breath starts


Intoxicated by you

I can’t resist your heart

But you tell me you still love me

And it tears me apart

Enraptured by you

It’s always like a dream

But you’ve chosen head over heart

So you will never again choose me

Infatuated with you

The way we connect the way we spark

But you’ve made your choice with no regrets

Whilst I’m trapped inside your heart

Captivated in a desire that is required

To never be, and yet forever be yours


Sometimes the desire to run
Takes over from everything you love
The job, the family, the friends you have
will be lost, unforgotten, loved and yet, gone
As you acknowledge their kindness
But fail to see, how settled in their love
You can ever truly be

I want to run
I want to escape
Because the love I had
Won’t ever really be
The life I thought
Not the life I knew
Will my heart ever be
Truly free of you?

Sometimes the desire to leave
Overtakes the desire to belong
Once you’ve had that and lost it via your heart
The love and loss, not forgotten and yet, gone
As you acknowledge their comfort
But fail to see, how settled in their expectation
You will ever be

I want to run
I want to hide
Because the love i have
Will never abide
To the life I now have
And the life you now lead
Will my head and heart
Ever truly concede?

Sometimes the desire to disappear
Takes over your desire to care
The people, the lover, the team you enjoy
Will be alienated and gone forever anyway
As you acknowledge their devotion
But fail to see, how you can ever live up to
Who they want you to be.

I want to run
But I can’t leave
Because the love I feel
Only lets me see
The life I could’ve had
And the love you now have
My heart and head
Won’t leave me in peace


Drawing it out
With each passing day
I’m hurting in my heart
As you push me away
So much is unspoken
In the year that has passed
Storytelling in silence
To make the hope last

I don’t want to play games
Or hurt you in turn
I only wish you were careful
If only you could learn
That each mention of her name
And each nod to the past
Just keep reviving my pain
It overwhelmingly lasts

Continue reading

Not done yet

It’s been a while since I put pen to page
Fighting the darkness on each step of the way
I’m making ground and I’m forging on
I’m feeling a heaviness but I’m willing it gone
I don’t want to give in to the relentless hours
But I can feel it pulling, swallowing desires
Taking my passions one pen stroke at a time
Telling me I’m not good enough, I must still try
I have been doing better with each passing week
But will take a little while longer getting back to my feet
Hiding it from those I love – admitting I’m lost, it’s easy to forget
The times I’ve come trough this… I’m not done yet

Morning light 

Waking up with a lightness in my mind,
As I realise it’s only a matter of time.
The sunlight breaks through the cracks,
Seeking, tripping, pouring a delightful attack
On darkness, it slices and tumbles in a dance.
A complimentary juxtaposition, cutting silence,
The dust swims between these realms,
Like their dreams are fighting fears at the helm –
Jutting, falling landing on my skin,
Their ferocious fragility echoes within.
A touch you can see but not feel with any weight
But the comforting warmth of the beams, that I break
With my hands, as they tango in light with the dust,
Reminds me beauty is there – if you look hard enough.


When I can see the sun
But not feel it on my skin
When I can hear the music
And my heart won’t tune in
When I see your eyes alight
But the tenderness is gone
When I’m taking strides
Pretending to be strong
In it there’s despair as black as the night
But in me there’s one last flicker, one last fight

Didn’t you know?

Didn’t anyone tell you?
She’s gone, the girl you knew
I’m an illusion of what you saw
Helping to carry her through
Through the “good morning!”
The daily jibes and jokes fly
The facade and feverish delightedness
Until I carry her home to cry

Didn’t anyone tell you?
She’s not sleeping, not laughing
I’m keeping her together now
She’s too vulnerable, a fragile thing
She’s still captivated by your lies
Lead through a dance by your games
I’m desperately keeping her hidden
In the hope she’ll return one day

Didn’t anyone tell you?
How you broke her heart, didn’t she?
Too afraid you’d laugh and shrug
She didn’t because she’s not me
So that’s why I’m here, finding my way
Through her ferocious white fear
Taking hold of her shattered heart
So that all you see is one tear

Didn’t anyone tell you?
How she’s an echo, tethered to despair
Whilst I’m hunting for hope in her heart
She falters, flinches at each glare
With a heavy heart I begin again each day
But with each day I’m more strong
Because I can see she’s not totally lost
I can see she’s still holding on


Hitting reality with a crash

When I’m reminded how you don’t want me 

After a week of chatter from over seas

Your hot-and-cold returns, my heart re-breaks and my hopes flee 

Thanks for the hope

And thanks for the intoxicating charm

And thanks for the cold hard truth

As the floor falls away, I’m suddenly disarmed