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Quiz | The Lowry

Quiz is the play written by James Graham and inspired by the book 'Bad Show: The Quiz, The Cough, The Millionaire Major.' It takes audiences on a gripping and thrilling journey that recounts the infamous story of Charles Ingram (aka the Coughing Major scandal), in which Ingram and his wife were found guilty of using an elaborate scheme to cheat their way to one million pound on the world's most popular game show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' With new evidence being uncovered, audiences are invited to put their fingers on their keypads and to give their final answer, was Ingram guilty or not guilty?


Whilst on surface level, Quiz appears to be your standard courtroom drama - with incredible direction from Daniel Evans and Seán Linnen allowing time intercepting scenes to transport the audience between the trial taking place in the courtroom and flashbacks of the lead up to Ingram's appearance on the hit quiz show. However, writer James Graham has written a piece of theatre that digs a little deeper, providing thought-provoking moments which allow reflection of human perception and how it impacts on the reliability of evidence in court, as well as questioning flaws in the justice system. The premise of this show is incredibly exciting, as audiences are given glimpses into the motives of Ingram and his family, and what may have led to his desperation of success on the quiz show. Act one of the play focuses on the prosecution of Charles Ingram and act two focuses on the defence in court, and as audiences are given the opportunity to use their keypads to vote after each act to decide whether Ingram was guilty or not guilty, it's interesting to observe the results of the voting.



It must be noted here that whilst act one was paced well with a good balance of serious and captivating scenes and moments of humour interspersed, act two seemed to lack momentum with the comedic moments appearing to be used more frequently as a gap filler rather than serving a purpose. I personally believe there could be potential for the show to be an incredible one act show with some of the unnecessary moments cut out to keep the excitement and momentum throughout. Some of the dialogue scenes seemed long and lacking any real value, which lead to moments of disinterest and took me out of the story.


An honourable mention must go to Rory Bremner who plays the role of quiz show host, Chris Tarrant. Bremner gives an incredibly accurate portrayal of Tarrant and it is clear that he has studied his character well. From physical characterisations such as the use of his facial expressions and hand gestures, to the comedic timing and abundance of famous one-liners from the show, Bremner was utterly convincing. Other notable mentions must go to Sukh Ojla and Dean Graham, for their multi rolling skills in making each character unique and believable.


Set design comes from Robert Jones in which the courtroom is stagnant for the entire duration of the show. However, different scenes are brought to life by effective use of video projections (Tim Reid) and props as we are transported into the TV studio. There is good use of lighting (Ryan Day) in these scenes, reminiscent of the colours and spotlights used in the hit TV show. Ben Ringham and Max Ringham do an effective job with sound design, using sound effects mirrored from the show and low pulsating rhythms that built tension throughout the play.


Quiz is an incredibly thought-provoking and entertaining play that questions the flaws within the justice system and the depths that humans would go to when pressured. Quiz plays at The Lowry until 28th October. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


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AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography provided by The Lowry.

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