Newark Advertiser, July 2010 "Cricket memories return for city actor"

The Ronald Harwood comedy, Quartet, has started a major national tour and will be at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, from Monday. July 19, to Saturday, July 24.

The all-star cast comprises Michael Jayston, Gwen Taylor, Timothy West and Susannah York. The production is directed by Joe Harmston.

Quartet is a touching, charming, bitter-sweet comedy about life-long friendships and growing old disgracefully.

In a twilight home for musicians, retired opera singers Cissy, Reggie and Wilfred are former colleagues planning a concert to mark the re-release of their famous recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Their gentle peace is shattered by the unexpected arrival of legendary diva Jean Horton.

As old rivalries resurface, long-forgotten secrets are revealed and the four have to put aside their differences in order to come to terms with their past, as well as their future. And the show must go on. And it does.

Jayston plays Reggie, Taylor is Cissy, West is Wilfred and York stars as Jean.

Jayston, who appeared in Emmerdale as millionaire Donald de Souza, said that returning to Nottingham brought back a lot of memories for him.

He said: “Being born and brought up in Nottingham, I used to play cricket for Gedling Colliery and we used to have a lot of matches in Newark.

“There was a Church of England vicar who had a wooden leg and we had trouble bowling him out. Whenever he should have been given out LBW, the sound of the ball hitting his leg just sounded like it had hit his bat.”

Jayston said he had never really considered a career in the theatre even though he had been at the Co-Operative Arts Theatre, Nottingham, with the likes of John Bird, Peter Bowles, Tom Baker and Su Pollard.

“When I came out of national service, instead of going to university I wanted to be a cricket writer and applied to join the Nottingham Evening Post. When I realised all I would be doing was covering funerals and weddings I decided to do some acting instead.”

Jayston trained at the Guildhall and has been busy working ever since.

His favourite theatre shows have been performing in Equus, Private Lives and Heros with Art Malik and Christopher Timothy.

He has starred in Henry V, Hamlet, The Homecoming, The Sound Of Music, The Way Of The World and Dancing At Lughnasa.

He has appeared in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Royal, Only Fools And Horses, and Darling Buds Of May among many other programmes.

He has recorded many books and starred in films including Cromwell, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Alice In Wonderland, Zulu Dawn, Highlander III, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

Jayston said he hoped to be working with Art Malik again in the future, possibly on one of his small budget films.