Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Delicious divas and mischievous maestros
As I sit writing this it is the 10th October, exactly two hundred and two years since the birth of Guiseppi Verdi - probably the best loved composer of opera ever.
Verdi became immensely wealthy by his work and when he died he left his mansion as a home for all singers who had worked at La Scala and those who had fallen on hard times.
Sir Ronald Harwood, renowned playwright (The Dresser, The Pianist), author (Sir Donald Wolfit: His Life and Work in the Unfashionable Theatre and many others) and screenplay writer (A High Wind in Jamaica, Oliver Twist, The Dresser and Quartet, among others) based his play Quartet in such a home - Beecham House.
Verdi's birthday is particularly significant for the inmates of Beecham House for retired musicians who chose to celebrate it with a Birthday Gala.
Cast of quartet in rehearsal (Photograph by O Peters)
The play open with three retired opera singers - Reggie (baritone), quietly reading an improving book on Wagner, Cissy (soprano) is doing a little light gardening and listening to music through headphones while Wilf (tenor) makes suggestive comments to her.
The three are old friends and have worked together many times, particularly in Rigoletto, Verdi's masterpiece.
This cosy scene is disrupted by the arrival of Jean Horton (contralto), Reggie's ex-wife. Humour, chaos and music follows.
Quartet is not a play with a message, although it has a few rueful things to say about ageing and growing old. Mostly it's a vehicle for the four actors to strut their skills and generally have fun, into which the audience is welcomed.
The latest production is by Kads, whose intimate theatre is perfect for this jewel of a play.
The cast of Quartet (Photograph courtesy of Kads)
Directed by many times awarded Terry Hackett, the actors are a collection of Perth's finest (and most mature) actors - Anita Bound, Kim Taylor, Kerry Goode and Douglas Sutherland-Bruce, all of whom have won many acting plaudits over the years.
Two are also fairly well-known as directors and Terry says, 'herding cats is easy compared to directing directors'.
The play opens at the Town Theatre, Barbery Square, Kalamunda on the 13th November and runs until the 5th December. Tickets cost $20 for most performances, although Saturday nights cost $30 and include a fish and chip supper.
Tickets may be booked through the Lucky Charm Newsagency - 92572668.