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Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Gentle Symphony - Review of "Quartet"


Every year on Giuseppe Verdi's birthday Beacham House, a retirement home for musicians, holds a concert to raise funds. This year the house is in particular trouble and the residents are reliant on the success of the concert. Lifelong friends and house residents, Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtney), step forward with former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins) to put on an especially important performance. They wish to end the show with a quartet. Reggie is a hugely respected singer, matched only by his ex-wife, the former grande dame of the opera house, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Jean joins the home wishing to respectfully leave her career behind, but Wilf and Cissy know her presence in the quartet alongside Reggie will create enough public interest to save Beacham House. Reggie is still heartbroken from Jean's admitted affair and Jean has no desire to sing long past her prime. Meanwhile Cissy's dementia becomes ever more evident. Can Wilf's energy and good humour prevail upon the true spirits of his friends?