Star Quality

Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre Royal

Noël Coward's Star Quality concerns the ego clashes and fraught manoeuvrings involved when theatre people try to put on a play.

Ironically, it has itself had a somewhat convoluted transition to the stage.

Originally a short story published in 1951, Chris-topher Luscombe's adaptation was developed from a script written by Coward in the 60s but never fully produced during his lifetime.

Wide-eyed young playwright Bryan Snow has high hopes for his new play, Dark Heritage.

What is more, shrewd Director Ray Malcolm, himself regarded as one of the theatre's rising stars, shares his enthusiasm. Having cajoled the legendary Lorraine Barrie into being their leading lady, theatrical success and its attendant baubles seems likely.Unfortunately, the pair have not bargained for what pitfalls await those dealing with "star quality" . . .

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As an elegant, well-crafted production it indisputably succeeds in providing two hours' worth of enjoyment. Nichola McAuliffe preens and flounces with coquettish glee as Lorraine Barrie, and there is more than a hint of Margot from The Good Life about her performance.

Christopher Hackett is impressive as Snow, and as Tony Orford, the Director's wry Personal Assistant, Miles Western radiates laconic, twinkling wit. But in the appealing role of Malcolm, special mention should be made of Richard Pocock.