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Quiz: ingenious production - packed with laughs

Quiz at New Theatre, Cardiff. REVIEW by Andy Weltch

The famous 'Coughing Major' scandal that rocked the world's most popular TV quiz show comes to the stage in Cardiff this week.

Quiz is an ingenious play based on the case of Major Charles Ingram, who conspired with his wife Diana and a Cardiff-based college lecturer Tecwen Whittock to win the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? jackpot in 2001.

Or did he? Although found guilty in court, last night's (Wednesday 18 October) opening night of Quiz cast some doubt on that verdict.

In fact, audience members can decide for themselves - thanks to a voting device which allows you to take part in a 50-50 of guilty or not guilty!

It was enough to persuade me of their innocence (or at least enough 'reasonable doubt' for a not-guilty verdict), but I was outvoted - last night's audience narrowly convicted them - although those at the matinee in the afternoon were apparently more forgiving.

Impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner steals the show with his uncannily convincing performance as quiz host Chris Tarrant.

But our attention is more focused on the Ingrams. Lewis Reeves and Charley Webb are excellent as the as the ordinary middle-class couple, who find themselves at the centre of a global media phenomenon which is totally extraordinary.

The rest of the cast, led by familiar TV face, Mark Benton, all perform superbly in multiple roles: Marc Antolin, Danielle Henry, Leo Wringer, Jay Taylor, Stefan Adegbola, and Sukh Ojla.

Were the Ingrams and Whittock guilty of a conspiracy? Or was there an innocent explanation for the major's success? Were they subjected to 'trial by media' and thus denied a fair hearing in court?

QUIZ by Graham, * Written -
JAMES GRAHAM, * Directors - 
ROBERT JONES, * Lighting Designer - 
RYAN DAY, * Composer and Sound Designers - 
BEN & MAX RINGHAM, * Video Designer - 
TIM REID, * Movement Directors - 
NAOMI SAID and JONNIE RIORDAN, Chichester Festival Theatre, UK tour, 2023, Credit: Johan Persson/

This could easily have been a straight courtroom drama with some caricature comedy thrown in. But, like Chris Tarrant with his cheques, writer James Graham didn't want to give us that.

Instead we get an ingenious production, which cleverly presents different interpretations of events and leaves us - the audience - to make up our own minds.

Quiz is energetic, thought-provoking, and packed with laughs.

Nominated for two Olivier Awards including Best New Comedy, it was adapted for TV in 2020, starring Michael Sheen, Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford.

This stage production is superbly directed by Daniel Evans and Sean Linnen, with design by Robert Jones, and the all-important (especially in the studio scenes) lighting by Ryan Day and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.

Quiz plays at the New Theatre until Saturday (21 October). For more information and tickets, visit the New Theatre website here or phone the box office on 0343 310 0041.

Review by Andy Weltch

Quiz is a fictional imagining based on real events which took place in 2001 following an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? It is not in any way connected with the makers of the programme or any of the individuals portrayed. The television programme Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is produced by 2waytraffic.

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