11:42 Monday 11 February 2013

Operatic quartet on village screen

Written byNATALIE WAKEFIELD

A HIT comedy about growing old gracefully is to be screened at Hulland Ward.

Quartet, the latest offering from Hulland Films, will be shown at Hulland Ward and District Millennium Village Hall as part of the club’s aim to bring some of the latest cinema releases to rural communities.

The directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman, Quartet features an ensemble cast of British talent enjoying a wickedly comic script.

Beecham House is a home for retired opera singers and former members of a hugely successful quartet, Wilf (Billy Connolly), Reggie (Tom Courtenay) and Cissy (Pauline Collins) have been enjoying their retirement there.

Each year, on Verdi’s birthday, the residents perform a concert to raise funds for Beecham House.

But as the preparations for this year’s concert get underway, Jean Horton (Dame Maggie Smith), Reggie’s ex-wife and the fourth member of their quartet who left to pursue a highly successful solo career, arrives at the home.

Rapidly, the plans for the concert start to unravel, while the emotional tangle of former friends, former spouses and former careers force the quartet to re-examine their past and present.

Will the quartet manage to put aside their various squabbles and rivalries as rehearsals get underway for the concert?

Based on the successful stage play by Ronald Harwood, Quartet is a humourous look at theatrical temperaments and old rivalries on an operatic scale.

The four stars of the film are joined by a host of diamonds from the British acting firmament, including Michael Gambon, Andrew Sachs, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Trevor Peacock and David Ryall.

The cast are supported by true stars of the opera, with talents from the stage and orchestra transferred to film.

Insights into growing old, redefining old age and the indefatigable nature of the human spirit are tempered by a charming spirit of art imitating life, even as the brightest stars begin to fade.

Quartet, which is rated 12A, will be screened at Hulland Ward and District Millennium Hall on Saturday, February 23.

The showing is at 7pm.

Tickets are £4 available from Hulland Ward Post Office, on the door, or by telephoning 01335 370257.

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