Quality Street At The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Review


Reviewed by Louise Edwards

The name Quality Street is synonymous with tins of Christmas chocolates but did you know it got its name from a JM Barrie (author of Peter Pan) play about actual Quality Street in Halifax? Now that play is retreading the boardwalks, this week at the delightful Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, in collaboration with Northern Broadsides and the New Vic Theatre. It was initially meant to be touring preCovid so it is good to see it has fared the pandemic and is back out in force. Billed as Bridgerton meets Inside the Factory we were excited to see what would unfold!

The Crucible has seating on three sides of the stage, which it overlooks, and every seat has a great view. The stage is set with period furniture and you can hear machinery whirring in the background. The cast head onto the stage, dressed in chocolate factory worker uniforms, and chat to each other, and the audience, about their job working on the production line at the Macintosh factory, making chocolate. To be honest we could have sat and listened to them all evening but on to the important matter of the play!

Set in 1805 we meet sisters Phoebe Throssel (played by Paula Lane and Susan Throssel (played by Louisa-May Parker) who live on Quality Street. The talk is full of the Napoleonic wars and men are signing up to head to battle. The sisters however, are in dire straits. Phoebe has her sights set on suitor, Valentine Brown (played by Aron Julius) who she has heard is on his way to visit them. They think he may be planning to propose but are a little suspicious of him as they invested their savings in a project he had promised would reap them rewards, but which has failed.

On his arrival he tells them he is planning to conscript for war in Europe. but he will always have a place in his heart for them and plans to write and return one day. The sisters accept their fate and set up a school in order to pay the rent.

Ten years later he returns to find Phoebe has not aged well; stressed out and tired from the tearaway children in her care. Her youthful vibrence has faded away and she has resigned herself, at the tender age of 30, to being an Old Maid. Her heart, however, still yeans for the charismatic Brown who himself has lost a hand in the war, and she creates a character, Libby, who she says is her niece so she can be young and frivolous once more. Libby captivates all the men and in celebration of victory at Waterloo the town is full of balls and soldiers which she embraces. Brown is swept up in her charm but admits to Libby that it is her Aunt Phoebe who he really loves. Phoebe has a dilemma! As a respected school teacher she can’t admit to any kind of fraud but she wants to be honest with her true love.

The fun and frivolous play is a masterpiece in dramatic irony and Shakespearean comedy as we watch the characters double bluff and cross wit each other. The cast play multiple roles from Jelaini D’Agular playing Fanny, Isabella, and Sandra (characters from Napoleonic times through to the modern day) to multi award winning actor, Alex Morgan playing Ensign Blades, Arthur and Brenda.

This play is a breath of fresh air, full of Northern humour and definitely something out of the ordinary and it is great to see it is on tour to entertain and delight audiences. Fans of period drama and rom coms will love this but really anyone who loves a night at the theatre will get something from it too.

Running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 15 minute interval. The Theatre has a bar serving snacks and there are plenty of eating establishments a short walk from the theatre in the city centre.

Tickets cost from £15.00

Rating: 4/5

Quality Street is on at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield until Saturday 27 May 2023
For more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 0114 249 6000

Crucible Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA

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