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REVIEW - QUIZ | THE LOWRY | 24/10/2023

quiz play artwork

all about theatre three and a half star review

Quiz is a play by playwright James Graham and was inspired by the book “Bad Show: The Quiz, The Cough, The Millionaire Major” by Bob Woffinden and James Plaskett, which is based on the true story of Charles Ingram and the coughing scandal that surrounded his 2001 win of £1,000,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The play began it's life in 2017 when it premiered at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, it then transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End in 2018 before being adapted into a successful TV drama series in 2020. The play was supposed to tour the UK and Ireland back in 2020 but due to the pandemic the tour was cancelled, so it's great to see that in 2023 the show is finally getting it's first UK Tour. I was lucky enough to be invited to review Quiz on its stop at The Lowry in Salford.

Quiz productions photo

The play focuses on the trial of Charles Ingram (Lewis Reeves), his wife Diana (Charley Webb) and fellow contestant Tecwen Whittock (Marc Antolin), act one is the case for the prosecution with act two being the case for the defence. During the trial we are introduced to the witnesses in the case and hear their sides of the story, this allows for flashbacks to when the events took place taking us from the Southwark’s courtroom and to the TV studio where it all took place. Throughout the play there are little montages which explore the different aspects of the story, we learn how the format of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was developed, we learn how Diana Ingram and her brother were huge pub quizzers, we here about the syndicate a network of quiz fanatics who helped hundreds of people get on the show and we also learn how the Ingrams suffered due to the media frenzy around the court case.

Quiz productions photo

The set design by Robert Jones is visual appealing as the stage is seamlessly transforms from courtroom to the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire TV studio, Ryan Day’s lighting design and Ben and Max Ringham’s sound design really help to recreate the tense atmosphere which the TV show was known for. I really enjoyed the shows use of cameras, they used the cameras with a live feed to screens which were place on the back wall of the set. This really helped to create the feeling that we were in a television studio as they would zoom in on Charles Ingram when he was in the chair answering the questions as well as on Diana Ingram in the audience in order to see her reaction to his answers, just as they would on the TV show. The cameras were also used to show interviews with a variety of characters which were then live fed to the screens.

Quiz productions photo

The cast of Quiz was exceptional, this was a great ensemble cast with many cast members taking on multiple roles. Playing Chris Tarrant we had the very talented Rory Bremner, his performance was extraordinary his mannerisms were just spot on and he truly had me believing I was watching Chris Tarrent on stage. Lewis Reeves as Charles Ingram did a great job at showing his character’s vulnerable side, he actually mad Ingram come across as quite likable. Playing strait-laced Diana Ingram in her stage debut was Charley Webb her performance was believable and I enjoyed her take on the role. I also have to mention Sukh Ojla & Dean Graham (who was playing the roles usualy played by Mark Benton) for their fantastic multi rolling skills they were able to slip between their characters seamlessly making each character unique and interesting.

Quiz productions photo

An Interesting aspect of the show is that on entering the theatre all audience members are given a little key pad which they are asked to use during the show giving them the opportunity to act as the jury via electronic voting. After act one when the audience has witnessed the arguments for the prosecution they are asked to vote whether they think the Ingrams are guilty or not guilty. The same question is then put to the audience again at the end of the play after hearing from the defence, it was interesting to see how peoples opinions had changed after hearing both sides of the story.

Quiz is a great piece of theatre it's quite different to anything I have seen before, it was engaging and thought provoking and it certainly had me questioning whether my previous thoughts on the case were correct.

Quiz is on at The Lowry until Saturday 28th October 2023 you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the musical and see where it will be touring to please click the button below.

Photo Credit - Johan Persson

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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