Family theatre isn’t just for Christmas
Chuckle Brothers in Space Oddity
Newcastle Tyne Theatre 15th March 2014.
The Chuckle Brothers, ably assisted by their real life brothers The Patton Brothers, were able to delivery a couple of hours of family friendly variety entertainment. The audience laughed and everyone went home happy. Mission accomplished.
The show starts with the idea that Barry and Paul Elliott have gone shopping in a toy shop and after pressing a red button in a space ship that have found themselves on board a space ship manned by the Captain (Jimmy Patton) and Spot (Brian Patton). A bad guy needs to be stopped before he takes over the ship and then they can safely return to Earth. Additional support is given by Richard Morgan. The party tricks that give the show move of a variety show feel come from the husband & wife team Safire - Stuart and Jayne Loughland carry out random illusions at various points in the show.
For the show to be successful it has to keep both the parents and the young ones happy. The four brothers on stage clearly have a chemistry on stage. They naturally know what the other is about to do. This helps with the smooth delivery of the gags and the punchlines. The jokes work on both levels – a few jokes have the younger members of the audience wondering why their parents are laughing.
The show feels like a Panto complete with a variation of the 12 Days of Christmas at the end. This is not high end theatre and the story is just a vehicle for entertaining routines from the cast. The acid test is how the younger members of the crowd react and they loved it, especially when the parents were invited up to help out in a messy routine. The best of the illusions from Stuart and Jayne Loughland came at the start of the second half with some black light theatre tricks with a couple of spacemen appearing to be weightless on stage.
It is great to see this historic venue being used as it was originally intended – to entertain. Hopefully in the coming year more shows will happen in what is often Newcastle’s forgotten theatre. It is also nice to be able to take the young ones along to a live theatre event at another point in the year to the usual Christmas Panto. There is a lack of children’s variety shows on tv and judging by this young audience there is a demand for them.
The tour continues.