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

Out of reach

There’s a moment

In this turbulence

The trepidation as I step up to the crossroads

Where I realise

There’s a disturbance

The fear holds my heart steadfast as it implodes

In that moment

I realise, as my heart splits

There’s this void in myself that can’t be made complete

I’m still in love with you, despite it all

But I simply want to live

Is it too much to ask

Of my heart

To ask of you

Without falling further

Without falling apart

The life I have.

Not on the edge of what’s out of reach


Sometimes there’s just no space to feel anything

Other than what’s expected

Go through the motions

Do what’s predicted

Don’t cause a fuss

And stay unaffected.

Sometimes I lament

I prophesise and I long for,

Just sometimes I feel it would be easier,

If I could be gone for

A heart beat or a moment

A moment, a minute

For peace or atonement

Knowing what I know,

What I feel and what I see

Not understanding a future

Despite or including me,

I put my strength and emotions to the test,

If I or my heart or my accute emotions

Were no longer around

Some how, and some times

I feel it would be best

To stay where your feet

Your hopes and heart hit the ground

I lament

I don’t hope


I don’t wanna cope

Whatever that means

And whatever they say

My moments and seconds

Are mine to play


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

Bad timing

It was just bad timing
As you always said it was
When we fell, when we met
When you left, I was bereft

It was just bad timing
As you always knew it was
When we kissed, when we fell
When I lost myself, heartbroken hell

Bad timing
Syncopated love
Taken in stolen seconds
Shared in vain
Bad timing
Syncopated hearts
Loving in moments
Left in pain

It was just bad timing
As you always saw it was
When you held me, when we cared
When we were broken, and scared

It was just bad timing
As I always knew it could be
When you said you could fall in love
And I was too scared to say the truth

Bad timing
Syncopated love
Taken in stolen seconds
Shared in vain
Bad timing
Syncopated hearts
Loving in moments
Left in pain

It was just bad timing
As I always feard it was
When I head you’d met someone else
And I was too deluded to tell

It was just bad timing
We both knew it all along
When we fell, into and out of
Whatever we had, it was never enough

Bad timing
Syncopated love
Taken in stolen seconds
Shared in vain
Bad timing
Syncopated hearts
Loving in moments
Left in pain

In another life

You said, in another life,
You said, if only 20 years ago,
You said, you couldn’t because,
And then, we carried on in our glow.

You said, you could fall in love,
You said, you wished you could give
me everything you felt I deserved,
And then, I watched you live

You said, if only we met before
You said, in another life
You said, you could fall in love
Now I see you with her, it’s like a knife

I say, I never asked for much
I say, I fell for you hard
I say, I deserved better
I feel my heart wrench apart

I say, you were a coward and cruel,
Just disappearing, you could’ve just said
I say, you never gave me a chance
I say all this –
In my head

Rain, reflected

The rain thunders lightly on the floor,

With each tap-thud-drip my heart sinks some more

The greyness and the thunder

Like the beast inside my chest

Pulling at the fractured shards

Never stopping, he’ll never rest

The rain reflects the light in each falling gem

Like the flicker in my heart that I’ll be whole once again

The dancing of the light

Like the sprite inside my mind

Holding onto the smallest glimmer

Knowing it will pass in time

The rain runs and runs, pouring across the scene

Like the cascading fear and tears I choke-back; not to be seen

The lightening startles, it cuts

Like your words through my facade

Intricate, beautiful but broken

Why do I let down my guard

The rain thunders, reflects and runs, like a river to a stream

I’m saddened by how much it still hurts that you could be so false with me


The stories that spin
Weaving, woven, wondering and repeat

In the waiting in the silent din
Whispers, words, wanting in defeat

The habit of time
Passing, pushing, parting and repeat

With each tentative step of mine
Tripping, treading, turning in defeat

Waiting for… What am I waiting for…
Wandering, what I’m watching and waiting for…
A life from the sidelines… a glimpse from outside
A wallpapered retreat is all I can find

Motivation required
Floating, falling, finding and again

To push through what’s mired
Gripping, grasping, grappling in vain

The habit of time
Skipping, spinning, slowing in vain

Each torturing thought I find
Weaving, wondering, whirling and again

Waiting for… What am I waiting for…
Wandering, what I’m watching and waiting for…
A life from the sidelines… a glimpse from outside
A wallpapered retreat..? I’ll pass this time

A Chance

It’s been hard to take, and hold two things as one
Understanding that I’m hurt, yet my feelings for you are gone
Not forgotten, not dead, not nothing,
Just not breaking and twisting and turning.

How can that be, that these two are okay,
That it hurts like nothing else, that I lost you in that way
That I care, that I miss, that I cry
But for the past, for hope, for what’s denied

It made no sense, and for so long I fought
The pain meant I still loved you, or so I had thought
And I do, and I did, and I don’t as I did
This new equilibrium means both can live

I still care, I still cry,
I still hold on to the lie
But to be hurt, be lost, but not alone
I can now reclaim my heart as home

Good luck with your love, and I wish you both well
For the time that’s elapsed has had my heart in hell
But knowing they’re separate, the pain and the past
Means we have a chance of healing, for both of us – a chance