The Maskers' Studio Theatre
3 - 8 February 2020

Performances at 7:30pm.

This amateur production of “Quartet” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD a Concord Theatricals Company.

This play contains some strong language.
Recommended for ages 14 years and older.


The Reviews


5 February 2020

Those who have tickets for this sold out run are in for a treat of the highest order.

Exquisitely directed by Jill Desborough, every nuance of this script is exploited with pathos, humour, charm and class.

Four actors at the top of their game made the feeling of old age and yearning for past glories literally sing out. They all worked so well together and clearly are having a ball, and this was so clear to a sell-out audience, who sat mesmerised.

Philip De Grouchy is salaciously warm as Wilfred the baritone, his facial expressions perfectly conveying the front he was putting on, smarting on cue when mention of deceased wife.

Jo Barnard, the soprano star, brittle yet damaged, finally allowing her character some inner empathy to flow, making the audience inwardly cheer as stage fright is overcome. Her attention to detail, even hobbling to a seat during a blackout, is always a joy to watch, like applying eye makeup or putting a dress on, always as how that character would do it.

Eric Patterson was equally as involved with his well-rounded character, the tenor of the group. The character fastidiousness, be it marmalade or initial resentment, was perfectly pitched, never alienating.

Totally immersed was Hazel Burrows as Cicely. I just wanted to hug her, such was her marvellous interpretation of naivety, charm and non-spatial awareness. Her lucid moments of the past were wonderfully timed.

The finale was so well done. It was clear so much work had gone into this from all angles. The tenor vibrato, the stance, the emotion on the face, pure joy tinged with regret was so evident. Perfecto.

The abstract set is beautifully outlined in chalk, giving just the right ambience. Diction and lighting combined with aforementioned exquisite performances made this Bellissima!

- David Putley

Four ageing opera singers.
Can they recreate past glories?

Will they be up for the Gala Concert?

Once they held audiences spellbound in opera houses up and down the country; now they are measuring out their days in a home for retired musicians. Reggie, Wilf and Cissy are settled and relatively content in their new lives when their peace is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, the biggest diva of them all. We watch as they bicker and reminisce – for they have history!
And then, the biggest challenge of all – the Gala Concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday. What will they perform? Are their voices up to it? How can they reconcile who they once were with the people they have now become? Can they recreate past glories?

Funny, poignant and warm-hearted, the play explores the problems of aging while celebrating friendship, the human spirit and the enduring power of art.

Find out what happens to Opera singers when they retire!

Director & Cast

The Director of this production is Jill Desborough
Jill has been a Masker since 2014 and has enjoyed acting in a variety of roles. While acting remains her first love, she has recently branched out into backstage roles, including stage manager for last year's Christmas Show. This gave her the confidence to have a go at directing. Come to the show and find out whether or not that confidence was misplaced!

Jean is played by Jo Barnard
This is Jo’s third show with Maskers, after playing Mrs Joe Gargery in Great Expectations and the Duchess in Wyrd Sisters, and she is delighted to find herself once again married to Eric – albeit fleetingly! She is also pleased that she found time to take a GCSE in Italian at evening school about 20 years ago because it is finally coming in useful. Lei spera che vi piace lo spettacolo.

Cissy is played by Hazel Burrows
Hazel has been a Masker since the mid-70s, performing in a wide variety of roles - old men, very old women, servants, screaming wives, Americans, dominant mothers - to mention a few. In recent times, she has been either set painting or working as a director. Hazel directed A Bunch of Amateurs last May, a sell-out comedy with a team of fun-loving people. Bringing theatre into our community, getting people to laugh and see the funny side of life brings her enormous pleasure. Hazel is thrilled to be cast as Cissy Robson in this heart-warming, joyous play. Whilst learning the lines she has noticed the parallels between her life and this script, often hilarious and sometimes sad enough to make her weep. So, ladies and gentlemen, as the false teeth of time come away in the Granny Smith of destiny - enjoy!

Reggie is played by Eric Petterson
Eric joined Maskers in 2012. He was Joe Gargery, Wemick and Drummel, sometimes in the correct costume, in Great Expectations, and a particularly bolshie guard in Antigone. He was considered weird enough for Wyrd Sisters and was Len in pyjamas in Comfort me with Apples. Eric has just made his highly successful directorial debut with The Flint Street Nativity. He is looking forward to being married to Jo Barnard again (albeit for not very long).

Wilf is played by Philip de Grouchy
Philip has been (type?) cast as usual as the loud-mouthed extrovert; in this case, Wilfred, a noisy baritone and thus, in the famous quartet, singing the eponymous hunch-back, Rigoletto. Apart from any experience gained in wearing out not only the boards of many theatrical venues, but also the patience of numberless audiences in Southampton over the past 50 odd (!) years, his only qualification for this current role is being for forty years a member of Southampton Operatic Society. Have no fear, he will NOT be regaling us with any live operatic arias in this production - only some tuneless humming! He is looking forward to working in this intimate, four-hander play with such a talented company.

Creative Team

Production Manager & Mentor
Sheana Carrington
Stage Manager
Kathryn Salmon
Set Design & Painting
John Hamon
Set Construction
Graham Buchanan, Ken Hann, Clive Weeks
Set Dressing
Angie Stansbridge
Lighting Designer
Tom Foyle
Sound Designer
Jamie McCarthy
Lighting & Sound Operators
Tom Foyle, Jamie McCarthy, Kal Robinson
Wardrobe & Costumes
Allegra Carlton, Meri Mackney, the cast
Jo Fox
Rehearsal Prompt
Marie McDade

Ticket Information

Tickets £11

No concessions

Poster, Flyer & Programme

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy;   Lighting Consultant:- Clive Weeks;   Sound Consultant:- Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Director:- Peter Court;   Marketing Team:- Sarah Russell, Angela Stansbridge, Clive Weeks, Robert Osborne, Meri Mackney, Paul Baker;   Front of House Manager:- Chris Baker;   Box Office Manager:- Chris Baker;   Photography:- Clive Weeks;   Bar Manager:- Meri Mackney
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Shirley's own LOCAL theatre!

Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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