This bear is a fam­ily es­sen­tial

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON SHOW -

AU­DI­ENCES are in for a laugh when a com­edy about el­derly opera stars comes to a the­atre.

Sandy Turner is di­rect­ing Quar­tet at the Court The­atre in Tring at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber.

The play is about Reginald, Cissy, Wilf and Jean, four in­firm, by­gone opera stars who find them­selves re­united in a mid­dle class re­tire­ment home for ag­ing opera singers.

Their decision to per­form Rigo­letto for the home’s an­nual Verdi Birth­day Gala Con­cert sets the con­flict in mo­tion when Jean, the ob­sti­nate grand diva, re­fuses to sing her part in the quar­tet.

The play is cer­tain to strike a chord with au­di­ences on many dif­fer­ent lev­els, and through­out it they will feel happy, sad, com­pas­sion­ate and re­flec­tive, but with the re­sound­ing feel good fac­tor be­ing the dom­i­nant emo­tion.

Sandy Turner said: “We are ex­plor­ing the age­ing process, ‘the gift’ we are given at the end of our jour­ney so that we can make some sense of our past and embrace the in­evitable, for those who can even re­mem­ber the past that is.

“Old age hap­pens to those of us lucky enough to get there, but it won’t be as amus­ing as this, not by a long shot.”

Au­di­ences are en­cour­aged to go along and en­joy what prom­ises to be a fun and mem­o­rable evening’s worth of en­ter­tain­ment for all ages.

The play will be per­formed from Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 3 un­til Satur­day, De­cem­ber 6 at 8pm.

Tick­ets are priced be­tween £10 and £12 and are avail­able from www. courtthe­atre.co.uk or by call­ing the box of­fice on 07543 560478.

Hugh Bon­neville, Sally Hawkins, Ni­cole Kid­man, Sa­muel Joslin, Madeleine Har­ris, Julie Wal­ters, Peter Ca­paldi, Jim Broad­bent, Matt Lu­cas and the voices of Ben Whishaw, Michael Gam­bon and Imelda Staunton

MORE than 50 years after he first ap­peared in print, au­thor Michael Bond’s beloved bear Padding­ton has fi­nally ar­rived on the big screen in his first star-packed fam­ily ad­ven­ture.

Up­com­ing di­rec­tor Paul King’s film lov­ingly weaves the tra­di­tional tenets of the duffel-coat wear­ing bear’s story into a mod­ern nar­ra­tive.

Like the books, the film starts in deep­est, dark­est Peru, where a well-man­nered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his el­derly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Un­cle Pas­tuzo (Michael Gam­bon).

In their youth, Lucy and Pas­tuzo were vis­ited by a kindly English ex­plorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.

When their home is threat­ened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the ex­plorer, who has promised that there will al­ways be a home for them in the cap­i­tal.

Of course, after sail­ing the oceans in a boat filled with sup­plies of his trea­sured mar­malade, the bear finds London isn’t ac­tu­ally that friendly.

In fact it’s pretty mis­er­able, what with the driz­zly weather and glum com­muters push­ing and shov­ing their way out of Padding­ton sta­tion and ig­nor­ing his pleas for a home.

“Sorry, we haven’t got time for this,” cries wor­ry­wart Mr Brown (Hugh Bon­neville), while his moody daugh­ter Judy (Madeleine Har­ris) ex­claims she’s ‘em­bar­rassed’ to be near the small grisly, who has a ‘Please look after this bear’ sign around his neck.

Luck­ily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Sa­muel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night.

Nam­ing him Padding­ton after the sta­tion where they found him, the Browns in­tro­duce their guest to kindly house­keeper Mrs Bird (Julie Wal­ters).

But dis­as­ter soon strikes when Padding­ton tries to freshen up in the bath­room, re­sult­ing in a flood, two ear­wax-stained tooth­brushes and a sharp telling off.

De­ter­mined to find the ex­plorer, Mrs Brown takes Padding­ton to see her friend Mr Gru­ber (Jim Broad­bent), an an­tiques dealer who might have clues to his ex­is­tence but, in do­ing so, they at­tract the at­ten­tion of cranky cur­tain twitcher Mr Curry (Peter Capldi) and a slimy as­so­ciate of vil­lain­ous taxi­der­mist Mil­li­cent (Ni­cole Kid­man) who is hell-bent on ‘stuff­ing that bear’.

With Mil­li­cent de­ter­mined to get her mitts on Padding­ton to dis­play him in the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, the Browns find them­selves on a humdinger of a cat and mouse chase to try and keep their furry friend safe.

As com­fort­ing and sweet as Padding­ton’s beloved mar­malade, King’s de­light­ful adap­ta­tion has heaps of heart and enough hu­mour and care­fully plot­ted cameos to en­sure ev­ery­one more than grins and bears his adap­ta­tion.

Chris Parry, Liz Edlin, Gil­lie Bligh, and Stu­art Collins in Quar­tet, which will be per­formed at the Court The­atre in Tring next month Cer­tifi­cate PG Stars

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