Written by Peter Quilter

Thursday 13th to Saturday 16th September 2023

Directed by Members of the Company

AuthorPeter Quilter

Peter Quilter

Peter Quilter is a West End and Broadway playwright whose plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed in over 40 countries. He is best known for his Broadway play End of the Rainbow, which was adapted for the Oscar-winning film Judy (2019), starring Renée Zellweger. He is also author of the West End comedy "Glorious!" about the amateur opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. Peter has twice been nominated for the Olivier Award (Best New Comedy and Best New Play) and his Broadway debut was nominated for 3 Tony Awards.


Four pairs of characters; Four crucial moments

Jonathan and Wendy are on a blind date and hoping to get it right this time even though they've never got it right before; Barrie is not really interested in women but Janet sees that as no reason to stop trying; Shelley and Bobby have decided to holiday in Spain to finalise their divorce whilst drowning in cocktails; Angela is marrying for the third time to the dismay of her brother Toby and amidst a barrage of bad omens and a dress resembling a parachute.

Duets is a hilarious tribute to the strength and madness of the human heart.

The video trailer for this show can be found on YouTube at DUETS by Peter Quilter.

The Bench Production

Duets Poster Image

This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


Jonathan Andrew Caple
Wendy Janice Halsey
Barrie Roger Niven
Janet Robin Hall
Shelley Bernadette Lomas
Bobby Paul Gamble
Angela Sally Hartley
Toby Pete Woodward


Director for Blind Date Alex Eels
Director for Secretarial Skills Bernadette Lomas
Director for The Holiday Pete Woodward
Director for The Bride-to-be Callum West
Producer Robin Hall
Stage Manager Paul Millington
Assistant Stage Managers Di Coates & Di Wallsgrove
Lighting Design Roger Niven
Sound Design Paul Millington
Lighting Operation Mark Wakeman
Sound Operation Beth Howard
Set Design Pete Woodward
Set Construction Julie Burt-Woods & Craig Parker
Costumes Di Wallsgrove
Flyer Design Dan Finch
Programme Editor Derek Callam
Photography Tim Taylor
Front of House Manager Ingrid Corrigan

Producer's Notes

I had not heard of Peter Quilter when I was given a copy of ‘Duets’ by my husband - chosen on the basis that it was a play about love - but I found it very funny. I was also charmed by his wonderfully human characters, and his affection for them; all eight of the people we meet are flawed, to some extent floundering and at times ridiculous, but his humour is never cruel and their view of the world remains endearingly hopeful in spite of their various predicaments.

Bench is a director-led company, and while I long considered whether to pitch it, I wavered. There still aren’t as many interesting, complicated, funny and sympathetic middle-aged female characters as I might like given that I am a middle-aged actress with a soft spot for feel-good theatre. That changed when I realised that the structure of the play would lend itself very easily to inviting other people to direct it. I was delighted when the company approved the idea, and some really excellent directors volunteered themselves. (Too many in fact - come back in November and see the rest in action then). Two of them are new to directing but you wouldn’t have been able to tell in the rehearsal room, and I doubt you will either from the audience.

I was very lucky that precisely 7 talented actors put themselves forward making casting the show very easy and giving me the opportunity to be in the show too. (My first thought was ‘gosh I’m lucky to be in such good company’, and my second was ‘I’m going to have to be at the top of my game here’). We also have a top class technical team supporting us during the development and performance doing all of the offstage stuff essential to bring the show to you tonight. This might be a very funny play without pretensions but I think it has moments of profound insight into the human condition. Its message, that we all have a fundamental need for connection, is something I think will chime with many people - as will the idea that we can laugh at ourselves and keep hoping for something more, whatever our circumstances.

It has made me laugh a great deal, and also made me think; I hope it will do the same for you.

Robin Hall (Producer)

Production Photographs