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Quartet at Limelight Theatre

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Quartet hits the right note: equal parts poignancy & comedy
Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
Four retired opera singers – played by Gino Cataldo, left, Susan Marsh and Rosalyn Anderson and Chris Juckes, at front – face up to mortality in Quartet.


Get ready to laugh, sigh and cry a little as four retired opera singers take you into the bittersweet world of facing up to age and mortality. Written by Ronald Harwood and directed by Gwen Browning at Limelight Theatre, Quartet is set in an aged care home with Cecily, Reggie and Wilfred ready to celebrate Verdi's birthday with an annual concert.

Reggie's ex-wife Jean arrives and upsets the balance, continuing to act like a diva and refusing to sing – but the show must go on. In 2012, a film adaptation was directed by Dustin Hoffman and starred Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay.

Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
Susan Marsh, left, Chris Juckes, Gino Cataldo and Rosalyn Anderson play retired opera singers in Quartet.

"I loved the film," Gwen said. "For those of us in their 60s and above, the situation and state the characters are in is all too familiar. I felt the play would appeal to our more mature patrons while also providing a good laugh for everyone."

Involved with Limelight Theatre since 1983, Gwen has performed – as she puts it – in "too many productions to remember". She was named best actress at Limelight Theatre in 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2006, also scoring the accolade at the 1995 State Drama Festival.

Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
Susan Marsh, left, as Jean and Chris Juckes as Reggie share a moment in the show.


Gwen has directed the plays Hotel Sorrento, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Life x 3 and Talking Heads, winner of best production in 2012. The main challenge with Quartet, she says, is working with a cast of only four.

"It goes without saying that a group of strong actors is essential," Gwen said. "The actors must also be able to bounce off each other and work well as an ensemble."

Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
Wilfred (Gino Cataldo, left) and Cecily (Rosalyn Anderson) and share a laugh in Quartet.


Rosalyn Anderson plays Cecily, often referred to as "Cissy", who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. "She is already naturally flighty and this added element makes her a very endearing character," Rosalyn said. "All the characters are supposed to be in their 70s so the most challenging aspect is going through the make-up process before each performance to physically age for the role."

Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
In Quartet, the show must go on for Reggie (Chris Juckes, left), Jean (Susan Marsh), Wilfred (Gino Cataldo) and Cecily (Rosalyn Anderson), despite being retired.


First performing at the Old Mill Theatre in 1979, Rosalyn did a small stint at Patch Theatre before her involvement with the Chimera Acting School from 1985 to 1987. She returned to the stage in 2017 and has appeared with Limelight and Harbour Theatres and Life on Hold Productions in Let The Sunshine, Death of a Salesman, Hotel Sorrento and Animal Farm.

"Quartet appealed because it's a very funny script with four really strong characters," Rosalyn said. "I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of the show."

Quartet, Limelight Theatre, performing arts, opera singers, comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay
Cecily (Rosalyn Anderson) and Wilfred (Gino Cataldo) in Quartet.


Quartet plays at 8pm September 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, October 1, 2 and 3 with a 2pm matinee September 26. Tickets are $21, $18 concession – email bookings@limelighttheatre.com.au or call 0499 954 016 between 9am and 12pm, Mon, Wed & Fri (otherwise, please leave a clear message). Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.


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Why? It’s a play full of unexpected shifts of emotion and will make you feel happy, sad, compassionate and thoughtful, leaving audiences with the uplifting realisation that, although the body might be fading, the spirit never dies.
When: 8pm September 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, October 1, 2 & 3; 2pm September 26
Phone: 0499 954 016
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $21, $18 concession
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