Quar­tet sings with hu­mour

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

set in a re­tire­ment home and stars Dame Mag­gie Smith but the com­par­isons be­tween The Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel and Quar­tet end there. Dustin Hoff­man’s di­rec­to­rial de­but, Quar­tet features Dame Mag­gie as age­ing opera singer Jean, the new­est res­i­dent of Beecham House for re­tired mu­si­cians. Pauline Collins, Billy Con­nolly and Tom Courte­nay play Jean’s former opera col­leagues. Jean’s pres­ence causes waves, with her ex-hus­band Reg­gie (Courte­nay) re­fus­ing to ac­knowl­edge her pres­ence. Jean is per­suaded to min­gle with the other res­i­dents by the dotty Cissy (Collins) with en­cour­age­ment from Wilf (Con­nolly). The cen­tral theme of the film re­veals it­self when the star turn pulls out of an an­nual gala, held on Verdi’s birth­day, that raises money to keep Beecham House open. Who bet­ter to step in than the newly re­united quar­tet whose ver­sion of Verdi’s Rigo­letto has re­cently been re-re­leased? Jean is hor­ri­fied by the prospect as she’s sworn never to sing again, Reg­gie won’t take part be­cause he’s never for­given Jean for cheat­ing on him, Cissy may lose the plot any minute and Wilf doesn’t take things se­ri­ously enough. While the dry hu­mour and the ca­ma­raderie will de­light au­di­ences, Quar­tet’s real joy comes from the mu­sic. The film was in­spired by the doc­u­men­tary Tosca’s Kiss, about a real re­tire­ment home set up by Verdi in Mi­lan. Apart from the four stars and their mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Cedric (Michael Gam­bon) most of the res­i­dents are re­tired mu­si­cians and singers. The mu­sic will ring on in your head long af­ter Quar­tet fin­ishes.

opens on Box­ing Day, with previews this week­end.

Tom Courte­nay and Mag­gie Smith star in

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