Noel Coward Theatre
St Martin's Lane, London
Public Previews: 31 March 2018
Opens: 10 April 2018
Closes: 16 June 2018
Buy tickets: 0844 847 1722 or1: Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show
Sat 31 March at 7.30pm only
Tue 10 April at 7.00pm only
Wed 11 April at 7.30pm only
Thu 12 April at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Runs ? hours and ? minutes
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
James Graham's new play Quiz in London for a strictly limited 12-week season - following a sell-out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre
This new play is a provocative re-examination of the conviction of Charles Ingram, 'the coughing Major', for cheating, following his appearance on television's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? while providing a celebration of the great tradition of the British quiz show and an analysis of the 21st century's dangerous new attitude to truth and lies.
The cast features Gavin Spokes as 'Charles Ingram', Keir Charles as 'Chris Tarrant' and Stephanie Street as 'Diana Ingram' with Greg Haiste, Mark Meadows, Henry Pettigrew, Jay Villiers, Lizzie Winkler and Sarah Woodward - who all reprise their roles from the Chichester Festival Theatre run. Directed by Daniel Evans with movement by Naomi Said, designs by Robert Jones, video by Tim Reid, lighting by Tim Lutkin, and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.
PLEASE NOTE: This play is a fictional imagination based on real events which took place in 2001 following an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? It is not in any way connected with the makers of the programme or any of the individuals portrayed.
This production comes into London's West End following a run at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre (previewed 3 November 2017, opened on 10 November 2017 and closed on 9 December 2017) when the cast featured Keir Charles as the show's host 'Chris Tarrant', Gavin Spokes as 'Charles Ingram', Stephanie Street as his wife 'Diana', Mark Meadows as their acquaintance 'Tecwen Whittock', and Sarah Woodward as the defence attorney 'Sonia Woodley QC'.
James Graham's theatre credits include the comedy Labour of Love at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2017, the newspaper play Ink at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2017 and the political play This House that was staged at the Garrick Theatre in 2016.
Daniel Evans' West End directing credits include the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein musical Show Boat at the New London Theatre in 2016; David Mamet's play American Buffalo starring Damien Lewis and John Goodman at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2015; and Simon Beaufoy's play with songs The Full Monty at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2014.
When this production was seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre in November 2017, Michael Billington in the Guardian hailed it as being a "highly entertaining play... James Graham reminds us that we live in a quiz-obsessed culture." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described how, with this "thorough and thoroughly entertaining treatment of the 'coughing major' controversy that beset ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in 2001, James Graham has hit the jackpot again... it delivers such a sophisticated resume of the episode that it attains the status of a 'state of the nation' drama... Daniel Evans directs with the certain inside knowledge that he has a winner on his hands. Phone a friend and go." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "the second half is James Graham at his best as he contrasts the quiz show format with the subsequent court case against Charles Ingram... Graham loves detail and his best plays twine them into his tales, accentuating the realism, bolstering the drama. Quiz bristles with detail, not to mention game show razzmatazz, aided by a flash set by Robert Jones complete with a neon cube inside a moving circular walkway." Gary Shipton in the i newspaper commented how "James Graham's new play Quiz dissects the whole concept of the game show and lays it bare on the intimate Minerva stage... Nearly three hours of onstage action rattles past at speed, as the boundaries between reality, artistic conjecture and entertainment are repeatedly criss-crossed and blurred." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said: "Quiz, it saddens me to report, is not the strongest piece of drama... James Graham, usually so sharp, seems undecided and the result is a rather frantic, centrifugal piece that skips about all over the place and settles comfortably on nothing... Graham, disappointingly and most unusually for him, manages to extrapolate no overarching thesis, meaning we're left with the sad spectacle of people cheating - or are they? - on a quiz show." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times wote that "it's not perfect - the second half, for instance, feels much more flatteringly 'serious' than the first - but it confirms James Graham's talent for animating his fascination with how we involve ourselves as citizens." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail asked: "Was this a bad miscarriage of justice? So it might seem. Yet Daniel Evans's production aims for japes, accents caricatured, cameos hurried, the staging gimmicky... I would have enjoyed greater dramatic anger."
"The 34-year-old playwright James Graham... now has another hit on his hands with this sparkling new play about the 'Coughing Major'. That's Major Charles Ingram, who in 2001 won £1million from the TV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Ingram didn't get his cheque. But he did get an 18-month suspended jail sentence for conspiracy to defraud the programmemaker, along with his wife and an accomplice in the audience who coughed when the right answers were read out... Cleverly revealing the similarities between showbiz and courtroom justice, the evening unfurls a story we already know. Yet it does it with mounting tension and insights into how the show was made. Gavin Spokes is good as the Major, and Stephanie Street ferociously competitive as his wife. Intriguingly, their defence barrister (Sarah Woodward) makes mincemeat of the evidence against them. Were they wrongly convicted, then? We voted and found them not guilty. But the real question is, how likely is this play to become James Graham's next West End hit? Very. That's my final answer." The Mail on Sunday
"James Graham highlights the potentially dangerous blending of entertainment, politics and justice today. Performance trumps content. It is quite a weight for this strange case to carry, and while Daniel Evans's production is always enjoyable, it often feels as if it might crack under the strain. On the shiny floor-show set, a revue-style format introduces a quick history of game shows, references to TV in parliament and challenging quiz questions for the audience to answer... Was Charles Ingram guilty? The audience gets to vote twice, and opening night came to very different conclusions. Graham asks serious questions in the most inventive ways." The Sunday Times
Quiz in London at the Noel Coward Theatre with public previews from 31 March 2018, opens on 10 April 2018 and closes on 16 June 2018