Photos Reviews


April 2022

A gloriously funny examination of the chaotic world of love, relationships and why the grass is never greener. Peter Quilter's set of plays, Duets, is a hilarious tribute to the strength and madness of the human heart.
Stuffed with witty one-liners, this is a funny but thought-proking comedy by the author of Broadway smash End of the Rainbow and the West End hit Glorious! Three sets of characters, three crucial moments. Jonathan and Wendy are on a blind date and hoping to get it right this time even though they've never got it right before; Barrie is not really interested in women but Janet sees that as no reason to stop trying; Shelley and Bobby have decided to holiday in Spain to finalize their divorce whilst drowning in cocktails.


From Estuary Magazine:

Duets is a success tonight - one moment humorous, the next thought-provoking

Duets by Peter Quilter:

Estuary Players' production April 2022

3 Acts, 3 sets of 2 players, 3 situations - Present day.

First is Blind Datewhere the couple, following each of them placing an advert in a lonely-hearts magazine column, meet in his (Jonathan's apartment). This is obviously a single man's place - sofa, 2 chairs, hideous yellow lamp on the side. A front door through which Wendy arrives complete with a huge lump of cheese ("Well I don't drink wine" she explains) and a second door inviting unspoken possibilities ("save it till I go to bed - whoops!"). They nervously dance around each other and move into a dance conclusion agreeing to continue beyond their agreed "15 minutes" to dinner, even dessert and coffee. Howard Eilbeck and Suzanne Dunstan play the couple wonderfully. They have been here before, neither have high hopes but their relationship could actually work. I loved Suzanne's delight that she too could clap her hands and the music began; and especially liked Howard's impassioned "I wanted to win first prize!" The way they moved around the room was well-directed - and well done sound for your timing: not only dance music upon demand, but telephone and mobile ringing ("Paul" and "Pauline" - friends for emergency the daters confess). A good start for the evening.

Secretarial Skills is the next play and this time the duet is American rich gay Barrie and his devoted secretary Janet enjoying looking after him. Wedding bells offstage and Barrie cynical with some fabulous lines which made us laugh. Alan Caig and Chris Eilbeck were excellent and their accents consistent and confident. I loved their costumes (Janet's great red shoes set against her white blouse and black skirt - "fairly scary" says Barrie at one moment). Barrie is the closest Janet will have to a husband and their kiss scene was wonderfully performed. The single set had received great changes (Janine Warre, stage manager, well done)- notably the window scene, drinks stand (for Barrie's birthday) and conveying the air of cultured decor and ambience. It was a really enjoyable watch.

Third and final play (there is a fourth apparently but this wasn't "on" - a promise perhaps for the future). This last play for us was The Holiday - to finalise their divorce, rather than hiring solicitors, Brummy Shelley and Bobby take a holiday to Torremolinos ("Well this was paid for"). Shelley arrives in their hotel room plastered, the conversation is heated and Bobby packs his case to go home early. Clare Philbrock and Ian Potts handled the play brilliantly - they were believable and completely in control ("we are being bizarrely mature"). There are laughter-lines but the pathos of the situation was barely concealed throughout the scene, notwithstanding the biscuits in danger of upstaging! The couple move off to their bedroom ("it's a new beginning" Shelley declares - and who knows when Saturday came and England is home).

The direction of all three plays (by Howard, Alan and the company) was of high standard. Lines were delivered well - audible and clear and whilst doing the script justice the pace was never allowed to be slack. The beauty of the 3 pieces was not only the subjects they convey but the way each of the cast suited each other as a duet in the characters they portray. Duets is a success tonight - one moment humorous, the next thought-provoking. A shame it wasn't house-full, but we certainly enjoyed the performances and the whole evening.

Thanks to all. (including the welcome and bar)

- Reviewed by: Nigel Mason


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