Pitlochry Theatre have included a Barrie play in their repertoire again this year (2018). Last year they performed Mary Rose and this year it is the turn of Quality Street. In the past they have also included The Admirable Crichton, The Twelve Pound Look, The Old Lady Shows her Medals and Shall We Join The Ladies? Four of us from National Trust for Scotland ventured up to Pitlochry one evening. The play was amusing from curtain up and is basically a love story set at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. For those who do not know the play it portrays the trials and tribulations of two sisters, the younger of the two, Miss Phoebe has fallen in love with a Mr Brown. Mr Brown visits the sisters as he wishes to tell Phoebe something important, and Phoebe thinks he is going to propose but instead he tells her he has enlisted. He is unaware of Phoebe's feelings for him or that the investments he recommended to the sisters had lost their value, leaving the ladies in financial difficulty. Ten years pass and Brown, now a Captain, returns to Quality Street from the war to see the sisters and is sad and shocked to see that Phoebe appears tired and to have lost her youthful looks. This is due to the fact that Phoebe and her sister, Miss Susan, have been working hard running a school in order to keep body and soul together. The plot develops with various twists and turns. It is intricate and has elements of farce which keep you engaged and entertained and it is really funny particularly towards the end. It also looks at nosy neighbours, customs and mores of the time and when first performed (1902) was so popular that Mr Macintosh used the design of the costumes and title of the play to produce his tins of sweets, Quality Street. Bravo Pitlochry Festival Theatre for keeping the works of Barrie in the limelight by their regular productions of his works. We all enjoyed the evening and I know from other visitors to J M Barrie's Birthplace who have also seen the play that they have enjoyed it as well.
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