Noel Coward’s final play is a slow burner but it really starts to hot up in the second half when the flying insults reach a crescendo.
Ray Malcolm is the director of new play, Dark Heritage. He uses stealth with his disparaging remarks. You never see them coming. Graham Millar who plays Ray makes Anne Robinson from The Weakest Link seem like a meek lamb. The dressing room, dressing down he gives to diva, Lorraine and her retaliation is a vintage showdown.
Kath Connelly is marvellous as leading actress Lorraine. From the moment she walks onto the stage with sunglasses on, a self important swagger whilst cradling a sweet puppy we know an ego balloon is waiting to be burst with a layer of depleted self esteem underneath. She ostentatiously feigns low confidence in order to seek out praise.
Callum Lloyd Thomas is good as the young playwright Bryan. He does well to keep his cool as Ray and Lorraine conspire to get him to do endless rewrites to his script.
Bill Darwin has a fine cameo as Ray’s PA, Tony. As well as providing some witty dialogue, he is instrumental in intelligently and sneakily assisting Bryan with scene tweaking.
Sue Preston also has a great cameo as the excessively emotional Marion. She has a rivalry with an offstage, Carol Wild. Almost certainly Lorraine’s insistence on casting the inept Marion is to make her look good in comparison.
Gay Benjamin deftly directs Ecclesall Theatre Company’s play within a play.
* Star Quality by Noel Coward, directed by Gay Benjamin, presented by Ecclesall Theatre Company, the British Amateur Premier at Ecclesall Parish Hall, Ringinglow Road, S11 7PP. 7.30pm.
Tickets £6 adults, £4 children.
Access for people with mobility issues.
Runs until November 22.