Support Local Journalism. Donate to Riverfront Times.

Quartet: A decorous gathering of dames and other knighted U.K. doyens 

A decorous gathering of dames and other knighted U.K. doyens, Quartet centers on the residents of Beecham House, a baronial residence for retired musicians.

Former conductor Cedric (Michael Gambon), bedecked in a series of fantastic caftans and charged with organizing the annual gala fundraiser, determines that the reunion of the foursome who shone in a long-ago production of Rigoletto will be the event's biggest draw. Assembling the headlining act requires a few desultory scenes of encouraging Beecham's newest addition, opera diva Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), to participate. Jean, once romantically involved with Reginald (Tom Courtenay), who passes the time giving gentle lectures to bused-in youths about the difference between opera and rap, states her objections sharply: "I can't insult the memory of who I was."

That all-too-real fear for the eminences gathered here stands as the only true pathos in the sentimental and pandering Quartet, adapted by Ronald Harwood from his own 1999 play and directed by Dustin Hoffman, stepping behind the camera for the first time. "Their love of life is infectious," says the staff doctor, holding back tears in the final minutes, belying the previous scenes of agony over hip-replacement surgery and Reginald's stated wish to have "a dignified senility."

The physician might have been referring exclusively to the randy joker played by Billy Connolly, prone to public urination and violating the staff's personal space -- acts sanctifying the memory of who he still is.

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Riverfront Times has been keeping St. Louis informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Riverfront Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Now Playing

Quartet is not showing in any theaters in the area.

What others are saying

  • Speaking of...

    Read the Digital Print Issue

    April 1, 2020


    Never miss a beat

    Sign Up Now

    Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

    Best Things to Do In St. Louis

    © 2020 Riverfront Times

    Website powered by Foundation