THEATRE REVIEW: Quiz ★★★★
Noel Coward Theatre
Saturday 14th April 2018
After his recent Olivier win for Labour of Love, James Graham has kept the political theme with his latest production Quiz, which depicts the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ Scandal, where Charles Ingram won £1,000,000 but was suspected of cheating with help from his wife, Diana Ingram, and Tecwen Whittock, who had previous contact with Diana before her husband's appearance on the show, which was at the time fronted by Chi's Tarrant.
The production allows us, the audience, to become the jury in case which is presented to us in two acts, where we get to hear the arguments for the prosecution and defence, and using a keypad labelled A-D, which is also used by us as the audience to answer a question regarding Coronation Street, we get two chances to decide whether the Ingram's are indeed Guilty or Not Guilty. It's nothing new to theatre with previous productions using audience participation like this, but it leaves you feeling a sense of uniqueness in the way of being a community rather than just being in the audience. Also included to enhance the participation is the use of a pub quiz, to which answer sheets are placed on seats, though this seems less effective in comparison to the former.
The scandal at the time, which was first presented in 2001, hit the nation dramatically and though I would only be young, I can remember watching the programme, and researching this particular incident at the time with fascination, and in a year where the show is returning for seven one-hour specials across a week presented by Jeremy Clarkson, the nostalgia is incredibly high and so it would seem even more with members of the audience, as we travel through the origins of entertainment with shows like Bullseye and The Price is Right, presented on stage in a segment which gets unsuspecting audience members up on stage and is genuinely done quite cleverly in terms of pace and atmosphere, especially with the multiple plasma screens around the theatre so you can watch through the TV as it's live recorded on stage.
Quiz is definitely one of the most political shows I have seen in a while, and it must be said is presented very well, with constant flashbacks between the court and events constantly keeping you toying back and forth regarding the Ingram's fates, especially when in Act Two some sequences are repeated, but with this act focusing more on the defendants, new information comes to light, leaving the final 'Guilty it Not Guilty’ result very powerful and alarming.
Overall, Quiz is a visually impeccable production homing back to software used recently in Network and Hamlet, with a cast that fully makes you feel for every character in their own elements, and bringing the theatre community closer with the use of engaging participation!