Review: Quiz, Noël Coward

Whether you get to make your West End debut or not, James Graham’s Quiz is great fun at the Noël Coward Theatre

“It’s a 50:50 – guilty or not-guilty”

It’s taken me a little while to get around to seeing James Graham’s Quiz but it proved more than worth it as this particular matinée was undoubtedly enhanced by the West End debut of…me and my Aunty Jean! Treading the boards of the Noël Coward Theatre was an unexpected bonus to a highly enjoyable afternoon, and I look forward to the next role that Mr Graham creates for me…

But back to the matter at hand. Transferring over from Chichester, Quiz takes a cock-eyed look at the world of light entertainment, and the way in which ‘constructed reality’ has bled into the larger narrative not just of our television, but of our society. Using the ‘coughing major’ scandal of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as a jump-off point, we dive into meaty notions of truth and justice in a media-dominated age.

Visually inventive, formally a little daring, and fascinating from start to finish, I was entirely seduced by Quiz, and not just because I got to be a Bullseye contestant onstage. Probing into the UK’s predilection for a quizshow, indulging that with its own pub quiz and opportunities to vote on whether people are guilty or not, whilst openly manipulating us in terms of formulating a narrative for us to follow, the show’s construction is ingenious.

From the presentation of the case for and against the Ingrams (an excellent Gavin Spokes and Stephanie Street) whose £1 million win was challenged by producers suspecting cheating, to the run through various British game shows (helmed by a genuinely hilarious Keir Charles, who also delivers a top-notch Tarrant), this is a thought-provoking piece of theatre that will really make you question what you perceive to be the truth.

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Quiz is booking at the Noël Coward Theatre until 16th June

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