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Star Quality (tour – Colchester, Mercury Theatre)

By • Southeast
WOS Rating:
This year’s revival of Christopher Luscombe’s adaptation of Noël Coward’s Star Quality in Joe Harmston’s production zips along at a faster rate than before. The performances by the original cast members are also sharper, with Anthony Houghton giving Tony a darker edge in his relationships with both Bob Saul’s bedazzled playwright Bryan and his boss-cum-lover Ray (Daniel Casey).

Taking centre stage – as of right – is the actress Lorraine Barrie, the exemplar of the star quality which is the backstage drama’s essence as well as its title. Lisa Goddard is excellent in the role, never playing for the audience’s sympathy – the character is in her fifties and needs all the artifice and mystique which show business affords to keep at the top of her game. The restaurant scene with Casey is incandescent as the inflated egos of leading lady and authoritarian director fire off each other.

The other new cast member is Keith Myers as Gerald, who has been Lorraine’s onstage foil for perhaps too long. His cameo of an actor no longer at his peak chimes well with those of Gay Soper as Nora – the dresser who has seen it all before, far too many times – and Sarah Berger as Marion – the second-string actress who Lorraine wants in the new play, just because she can offer no possible competition.


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