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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Preview: Boogie Nights at Seaton Deleval Arts Centre

Funky first musical for theatre society

Boogie Nights
Seaton Deleval Arts Centre
Wednesday 25th - Saturday 28th July 2018

Performers from Northumberland are gearing up to stage their first ever musical production this month, as Seaton Delaval Pantomime Society stage the funky seventies musical Boogie Nights.

The musical, packed full of the best loved disco hits was made popular and part written by Shane Richie. The show tells the hilarious and heart-warming story of Roddy, played by Stu Bennett, a Jack-the-lad, whose life of birds, booze and boogie is about to be turned upside down. It’s the night that the King, Elvis Presley, died and Roddy O’Neill is busy dreaming of life as a rock star. Debs, his girlfriend played by Sarah McBean has her own thoughts, that Roddy’s a selfish, arrogant, horrible, unfeeling, rude, heartless pig! But the truth is that Roddy is in love with Debs, and Debs is in love with Roddy, but Debs knows that her Roddy has more than a roving eye! Through all their tears and laughter – can they both find what they are truly searching for?

The show features all the greatest Disco classics and groovy chart topping hits such as You Sexy Thing, Y.M.C.A, I Will Survive, Blame it on the Boogie, Enough is Enough, Celebration, Boogie Wonderland and many more!

Claire Willis, Director of the show said “The cast have been working so hard since April learning all the brilliant music in the show, along with dance routines and words. It’s a real feel good story with plenty of laughs along the way. It’s a party night like no other, where the audience are fully included in the show sitting in the night club, which means plenty of singing and dancing along.”

Stu Bennett, Chairman added “We’ve been producing an annual Pantomime since 1973 but this is the first time in our history we’ve put on a full scale musical. It’s a big step up but also a fantastic challenge and experience for our cast, crew and volunteers. Rehearsals look fantastic and it’s going to be a brilliant show not to be missed.”

Boogie Nights hits the stage at the Seaton Delaval Arts Centre from Wednesday 25th to Saturday 28th July. Tickets are priced at £11.00 full price and £10.00 for concessions available from the Box Office on 0191 237 5460 or www.seatondelavalartscentre.com.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

REVIEW: Super Hamlet 64 at Newcastle Alphabetti

Mario vs Shakespeare

Super Hamlet 64
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Until Thursday 19th July 2018

This is a unique show. A fine example of physical comedic theatre with a Shakespearean core and a 16-bit coating. Writer and performer has combed computer gaming history to pack in as many references as he can without losing the original Shakespeare plot. It is a clever comedy that works really well. It is a shame it is only in Newcastle for one more night.

It was clear at the start that a number in the audience were regular gamers. The crowd understood the Portal references on the projection but they also remember the fun of playing Mario Kart on the Wii. This element of the audience had a part to play in a show that occasionally broke the fourth wall.

Now, Hamlet reboots are nothing new. Disney have enjoyed success with The Lion King which copied much of the story. But whereas Disney used cute animals, Edward Day uses familiar characters from gaming. Hamlet’s Dad is Mario, his uncle is Luigi. In the love triangle is Peach, who marries Luigi with indecent haste after his brother’s death. This leaves Edward’s character the “simple” job of killing the uncle.

The single-handed play is accompanied by a large rear projection and 2 smaller screens that, on occasion, show the players stats. What adds to the unique show is when Edward appears in 16-bit form on the gaming sequences. Anyone who has seen the title sequence of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit on Dave will understand the concept. That said, the show is more than an homage to gaming.

Photo: Andy Byrne
Writer and performer Edward Day has a wealth of experience with performing Shakespeare and he has got under the skin of text. I have said in previous reviews that if Bill was alive today, I’d imagine he’d be more into this type of relevant theatre than the stuffy verbatim retellings of his original script.  I’ll avoid a spoiler alert here, but the heartbreak ending of Hamlet really lends itself to the Undertale treatment.

The production felt bigger than the sum of its parts, partly down to the well thought-through interaction between the screen and the performer. Whether this be the inclusion of the monologue in text or the appearance / disappearance of the character through a portal, it was a slick performance.

I had pulled my gaming teenage son away from his X-Box this evening to come along and to offer his thoughts. He said it was the best Shakespeare he had seen and yes, it was better than a night on his console. I don’t think the show can have a higher recommendation than that!

I am really pleased I had the chance to see this show. Now I need to get my PS3 controllers back on charge.

Review by Stephen Oliver

Cast & creatives:
Writer & performer: Edward Day

Pixel Art: David Cousens
Title Music: Dan Bottomly
Other Music: Billy Bottle & Edward Day
Animation: Edward Day & Darius Powell
Projection & Set Design: Darius Powell
Lighting Design & Stage Management: David Calder
Costumed Musicians & Voice Overs: Edward Day
Queen Peach: Anneke Day

On The Web:
Twitter @eddydaylia
Instagram: eddydaylia

Wednesday & Thursday, 18th & 19th July
Alphabetti Theatre, St James Boulevard, Newcastle, NE1 4HP
7:30pm (Running time 1 hour 45 minutes)
Tickets £7
Available from 

Edward will also be running a workshop on Comedy Shakespeare on the 19th of July at the same venue, 2-4pm, £8
Details: https://www.alphabettitheatre.co.uk/whats-on-menu/coming-up/17-whats-on-articles/286-workshop-comedy-shakespeare

Preview: Crooners at Sunderland Empire

Footballer hangs up his boots and puts on his tap shoes!

Sunderland Empire
Thursday 2nd August 2018

Former Manchester City, Wrexham and Northern Ireland midfielder Jim Whitley has exchanged his football boots for tap shoes as he prepares for a brand new comedy musical show set to hit Sunderland Empire for one night only, Thursday 2 August 2018.

Crooners is a brand new comedy musical that puts a quintessential British twist to a genre symbolized by the Crooner with an exhilarating show full of satirical energy, hilarious one liners, laugh out loud silliness and superb musical numbers. 

When injury cut short Jim’s football career he jumped on the chance to get back to his love for music and rekindle his previous experience as a singer. His love for swing music, The Rat Pack and the Great American Song book soon saw Jim become one of the UK’s most in demand crooners on the theatre circuit, and he jumped at the opportunity to play homage to his crooner hero’s Sammy Davis Jr, Matt Monro and Bobby Darin. 

Jim Whitley said:  “This is music from a time where men had style and charisma and could sing, dance, and joke like the best of them. What a time for music.” 

Crooner includes more than 20 all time classic crooner songs such as Mr. Bojangles, L.O.V.E, Mac The Knife and Beyond The Sea and features one of the best modern big bands in the UK, The Mini Big Band.

Jim’s footballing feet have fared him well in his transition from football to theatre and he puts them to good practice in an extended Fred Astaire inspired tap dance routine feature.

Jim admitted: “I’ve always admired flair and showmanship of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, so I bought some tap shoes! Now, it’s the highlight of my night.”

Jim broke into the theatre world with his portrayal of Nat King Cole in the production of Christmas Crooners and Strictly Swing before joining the Rat Pack tour as Sammy Davis Jr to critical acclaim. He is now excited to be part of this brand show that plays homage to music he loves, with one of the best touring big bands in the UK, and a quintessential injection of British comedy – tongue firmly in cheek.

“Nobody has done it like this”, Whitley says. “We’re playing the music of all the greats, completely live, with an ace band, and throwing in some British comedy that’s had me rolling around in laughter” 

“And to have received the reviews and amazing feedback from our audience, it really is special”.

This comedy musical is a collaboration between comedy writer and performer, Roman Marek, and one of the UK’s most prolific modern swing bands, The Mini Big Band, who are on a mission to lead a return to the British Variety shows of the past and celebrate this very British genre.

“I’m a song and dance man” stages creator Roman Marek, “and was brought up on the music of the super cool crooners, but also on the quintessentially English stage humour of Morcombe and Wise, Bruce Forsyth, and Max Bygraves”

Crooners follows the story of three very British gentlemen who, by their very nature, exhume the characteristics of a crooner; suave, self-assured, stylish. But it is not always obvious that these characteristics adopt quite so well by the quintessentially British. Cue a splendiferous injection of British comedy, tongue firmly in cheek, as they pay homage to their comedy heroes of stage.

The show features music of the greatest Crooners of all time; Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr as well as Tony Bennet, Bobby Darin and Britain’s very own crooner, Matt Monro, with a brand new comedy script that has had audiences smiling from ear to ear.

 “We wanted a show that makes British audiences laugh out loud. An all singing, all dancing musical comedy the likes of Morcombe and Wise” says script writer Roman Marek. 

The show includes the fully live on stage musicianship of the 10-piece modern swing band The Mini Big Band and promises to be a truly British Swingin’ Affair.

Tickets available from the Box Office on High Street West, via the ticket centre 0844 871 3022* or online from our affiliate ATG Tickets: http://bit.ly/CroonersSund *calls cost up to 7p per minute plus standard network charges. Booking and transaction fees may apply to telephone and online bookings.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Preview: John Carpenter at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Master of Horror Comes To Newcastle

John Carpenter: Anthology Tour
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Thursday 18th October 2018

Tyne Theatre & Opera House are thrilled to welcome ‘Master of Horror’, the legendary John Carpenter to their stage this October. As the director and composer behind dozens of classic movies, Carpenter has established a reputation as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of modern cinema, as well as one of its most influential musicians. 

The minimal, synthesizer-driven themes to films like Halloween, Escape From New York, and Assault on Precinct 13 are as indelible as their images, and their timelessness was evident as Carpenter performed them live in a string of internationally sold-out concert dates in 2016. Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 collects 13 classic themes from Carpenter’s illustrious career together on one volume for the first time. Each theme has been newly recorded with the same collaborators that Carpenter worked with on his hit Lost Themes studio albums: his son, Cody Carpenter, and godson, Daniel Davies.

Anthology is a near-comprehensive survey of John Carpenter’s greatest themes, from his very first movie, the no-budget sci-fi film Dark Star, to 1998’s supernatural Western, Vampires. Those sit alongside the driving, Led Zeppelin-influenced Assault on Precinct 13 theme, Halloween’s iconic 5/4 piano riff, and the eerie synth work of The Fog.

Carpenter and his band also cover Ennio Morricone’s bleak, minimalist theme for The Thing. (“I asked Morricone to please compose something with a very few notes,” Carpenter says. “And brilliantly, he did.”)

We also get vital new recordings of the themes to ’80s classics and fan favorites Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, Christine, and They Live, along with the romantic Starman, which earned Jeff Bridges his first Oscar nomination as a lead actor. The collection is rounded out by the menacing, heavy themes to Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness, the latter a Metallica-inspired riff originally played for the film by Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, and now played by his son Daniel. 

In the weeks following Anthology’s October 20 release, Carpenter will return to the road, playing both classic movie themes and material from his two Lost Themes albums. The performances will once again affirm the power of the Horror Master’s brilliant work as a composer and musician, and undoubtedly send audiences rushing home to their DVD libraries to dive yet again into the most rewarding filmography in genre cinema. 

Theatre Director Joanne Johnson says: “This show is an absolute must for John Carpenter fans, and to see these themes performed in the setting of our Victorian Opera House will be spine-tingling! We’ve got quite the line-up of legendary figures in our programme for the rest of the year; John Carpenter joins the likes of Brian Blessed, Joan Collins and Michael Palin, all of which will be unmissable shows.”

This show is presented by One Inch Badge and SSD (in association with United Talent Agency)

Age restriction 18+ due to content of films shown

Tickets: £45.50 front 2 rows, £38 Stalls to Upper Circle, £35.50 all limited view & Gallery. Boxes £300. 

£150 Meet & Greet and £99 VIP Tour package available through SEEtickets only. These tickets are available from our affiliate See Tickets: http://bit.ly/CarpenterNCLVIP

Friends of the Theatre pre-sale Wednesday 18th July. For more information on joining the theatre’s Friends Club please visit: http://tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk/support-us/friends-club/   

Regular tickets on general sale Friday 20th July from 10am. Available from our affiliates Eventim UK tickets: http://bit.ly/CarpenterTyne    

Monday, 16 July 2018

Preview: BonBons Cabaret: Queen Takes King at Newcastle Alphabetti

Bonnie and The Bonnettes present
The BonBons Cabaret: Queen Takes King
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Wednesday 25th July @ 7:30pm

The BonBons Cabaret is an evening hosted by Bonnie and The Bonnettes. Its mission is to facilitate a safe platform for experimental, queer, alternative performance work in the North East.

Join Bonnie and The Bonnettes, Mr Rhi (Mama Rhi), Maxim, The Loves, Melody Sproates, Lil’Bitchard, Vol-Au-Vent Love, The Arousals, and Johnny the Biblical Rapper for a night of pride, celebration, and community - for tonight's strictly drag and lip-sync!

Chess board. Black and ivory. A Queen. A King. Some knights. Some pawns. Who makes the first move? Come watch us play. One half are drag queens. The other half are drag kings. Some are in between.

It’s a circus. A downtown bar. A club. Or a cabaret lounge. Wherever it may be, it’s all part of your imagination. A well-conditioned moustache. Big hair. Feathers. Heels. An open shirt. Dresses. Leather. A double whiskey, on the rocks. Or a gin and tonic, lots of lime. Whatever it is, it’s a game and anyone can make the first move.

Photo: Shotbyjen

When: Wednesday 25th July 2018
Show begins: 7.30pm
Tickets: £7 Full Price / £5 Concession (Student, OAP, Artist, Unwaged)
Age recommendation: 12+

Blue Jeans Management Proudly Presents
Rhod Gilbert - The Book of John
Sunderland Empire
Saturday 9th March 2019

PRESALE to ATG Theatre Card- 10am, Wednesday 18 July.  GENERAL SALE - 10am, Fri 20 JULY

Time Out

Following a six-year break from stand-up the multi-award-winning comedian is back with a brand new live show.  The Welsh wonder is set to embark upon a full UK tour in 2019, kicking off in February, with a date at Sunderland Empire, Saturday 9th March 2019!

As one of the UK’s leading stand-up comedy talents, he has enjoyed many successful years as a star of television and radio. He has amassed eight series of his hugely popular ‘Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience’.  He is the current host of BBC2’s ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired’ and is the former host of ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’.  He’s regularly hosted ‘Have I Got News for You?’ and has appeared countless times on ‘Qi’, ‘Would I Lie to You?’ and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown’.  He has hosted ‘Live at The Apollo’ on multiple occasions and has twice performed on ‘The Royal Variety Performance’. 

He is set to appear in the forthcoming series of the Bafta award-winning ‘Taskmaster’.

A lot has happened to Rhod in the six years since he last toured.  Almost all of it shit. And just when he thought he’d hit rock bottom, he met a bloke...called John. This show sees Rhod as funny as ever, but like never before.  ‘The Book of John’ is raw, personal and brutally honest; no more lies, no more nonsense. 
This is Rhod, but different, the same, but not.   Come along and see for yourself.







Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at http://bit.ly/RhodInSUnderland
*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your plus your phone company's access charge. Booking and transaction fees may apply.

Preview: When the Boat Comes In at South Shields Customs House


When the Boat Comes In
South Shields Customs House
Thursday 15th - Saturday 25th August 2018

The Customs House announces the highly-skilled cast that will anchor its production of When the Boat Comes In this summer.

Writer Peter Mitchell 
The iconic hit TV show has been adapted for the stage for the first time by Peter Mitchell, the son of the original writer, James Mitchell. The play was commissioned by The Customs House to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and will run from Thursday 15th to Saturday 25th August 2018.

The gritty drama explores the struggles of life during the inter-war years in the fictional Tyneside town of Gallowshield – based on Mitchell’s birthplace, South Shields. 

Jamie Brown has been cast in the lead role of Sergeant Jack Ford, originally played by James Bolam in the BBC drama, who returns home from active service to find the place he left is still battling against poverty, ill-health, unemployment and discrimination.  But Jack hasn’t endured the horrors of war to live a life of misery - he has set his sights on the high life and is determined to get what he wants, whatever the cost.  Jamie is known throughout the north east for his roles in The Machine Gunners, The Man and the Donkey, The Fifteen Streets, The Cinder Path and Hadaway Harry, among others.  He also directed Geordie the Musical at The Customs House and Tyne Theatre last year and The Butcher’s Bill at several north east venues last month.

Jessie Seaton will be played by Alice Stokoe, who made her West End debut in Mamma Mia in 2014 and has since starred in touring productions of American Idiot and Sister Act.

Bill Seaton will be played by Steve Byron, an actor/drama practitioner with 25 years’ experience of working within community theatre in the north east.

Bella Seaton will be played by Janine Birkett, whose film and TV credits include Billy Elliot, Coronation Street, Inspector George Gently, Emmerdale, Badger and Byker Grove.

The rest of the cast is made up of well-known north east stage stars.  Tom Seaton will be played by Matthew Howdon (Leaving), Billie Seaton by Luke Maddison (Leaving, Geordie theMusical), 
Matt Headley by Charlie Richmond (The Last Ship, The Machine Gunners) and Dolly Mather by Anna Bolton (Emmerdale, Doctors).

Mary Routledge/Mrs Scrimgour will be played by Sarah Balfour, from South Shields, who graduated from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) last year and has since appeared in Hyem at Northern Stage.

Director Katy Weir said: “I am over the moon with the cast we have in place for When the Boat Comes In. Such an iconic piece of work requires an incredibly strong cast to take on the challenge and I believe that is what we have. I can’t wait to get started.”

When the Boat Comes In was the first mainstream TV drama to be set in the north east and at its peak, attracted 15 million viewers and received national acclaim. It ran for four series between 1976 and 1981. Series creator James Mitchell also wrote three tie-in books, When the Boat Comes In, When the Boat Comes In: The Hungry Years and When the Boat Comes In: Upwards and Onwards.

The play has been generously supported by Colmans of South Shields.  Ray Spencer, Executive Director of The Customs House, said: “We’re so excited for this show. Don’t miss the boat, book your tickets now!”

Tickets for When the Boat Comes In are priced from £15 and performances start at 7.30pm, with 2.30pm matinees on Saturday, August 18, Thursday, August 23 and Saturday, August 25. To book, contact the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or visit www.customshouse.co.uk.