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A Napoleonic lovestory

Quality Street

Written by J.M Barrie

Directed by Laurie Sansom

Review by David Bithell for A View to a Kiln

Named after the famous brand of chocolates we tend to associate with the festive period, a group of factory workers at said factory set the scene and narrate at various parts of the play.

“She’s a very good actress, isn’t she?” says one about Paula Lane in the main lead role of Phoebe Throssel (they’re certainly not wrong). Eagle eyed members of the audience will remember her as Kylie Platt from Coronation Street.

The director Laurie Samson adds working puppets to act as school pupils during one scene. These have been expertly created by Beka Haigh.

This Napoleonic love story incidentally has nothing to do with this confectionary delight, it is more of an emerging romance between Phoebe and Valentine Brown played by Aron Julius. This romance is cut short by Valentine Brown’s enlisting in the army. There are lots of funny moments throughout. One of which is when Phoebe pretends to be her younger niece.

There are lots of this production that plays well to the audience that refuses to be drawn into another costume drama of its time. From quirky wardrobes to fast paced running about, it ascends in the interactions between Phoebe, Valentine and Phoebe’s sister Susan played by Louisa-May Parker. Susan being the woman infinitely disputed by what she wants and what is expected of her along with Phoebe. Overall it was a good play, some of it was great, some of it you will love and some will leave you a bit bewildered. You could say it’s like a tub of Quality Street, everyone has their favourites.

At the New Vic Theatre, until 25th March 2023. For tickets call the box office on 01782 717 962 or alternatively visit

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