Quiz by James Graham, currently performing at Chichester Festival Theatre, is a warning against televising one of the last parts of public life that is still not filmed, arguing that the media will turn justice into entertainment. Whether it makes a convincing case, I am unsure.

Television, it argues, blurs appearance and reality because it's a visual medium and an entertainment medium. We're told the main thing people remember about you is your appearance. Your voice and body language make up 38% of your impact. What you actually say on TV only accounts for 7%. 

Quiz is about the trial of the Major and Mrs Ingram who were accused of cheating Who Wants To Be A Millionaire out of the top prize, mainly by coughing. To emphasise the play's point, CFT's Minerva Theatre is turned into a TV quiz show studio.

Making this case carry the burden of showing that television turns everything into entertainment is asking too much of it. Inevitably the trial excited the media in the way that most don’t because it involved a hugely popular TV programme and massive amount of money.

Courts are already a form of theatre in which judges and advocates play to their audience. Juries have a tendency to decide verdicts on appearances rather than evidence whether cameras are present or not.

I don’t believe television has made as much difference to politics as James Graham thinks. It seems to me politicians were aware of their image long before the televising of parliament: Harold Wilson put a pipe in his mouth for public appearances; President Roosevelt made sure he wasn’t seen in his wheelchair. In fact, leaders have been image conscious for centuries as evidenced by the work of Holbein, Van Dyck and others.

The news media have been inventing stories for most of their existence. Hollywood decided early on to encourage media interest in the lives of their actors, thus making their often fictional offscreen lives an extension of the onscreen entertainment.

Despite my reservations, I found Quiz amusing, interesting and well worth seeing. If you want to know more, here's my review on my YouTube channel One Minute Theatre Reviews.

I wouldn't normally go twice in one week to theatre so I might have missed the touring production of Things I Know To Be True at Nuffield Theatre Southampton but for the Daily Echo asking me to review it. I'm so glad they did. This is a moving story of a grown up family in crisis and a stunning piece of theatre. Click here for my review of Things I Know To Be True.

Parts of the above article appeared on my website oneminutetheatrereviews.co.uk