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Preview: Lucky Numbers at Customs House, South Shields

Award-Winning Comedy
Returns To The North East

Lucky Numbers
Customs House, South Shields
15 - 25 October 2014.

An award-winning comedy is returning to its native North East after wowing theatre-goers around the world.

Lucky Numbers, which has been staged as far afield as Finland and New Zealand, will be returning to the Customs House Arts Centre, South Shields from October 15 to 25 2014.

The Newcastle-set show, written by acclaimed playwright Mike Yeaman, will star North East actress Pat Dunn as a forgetful grandmother who challenges her family to ‘buck their ideas up’ before she’ll hand over her winning lottery ticket.

Pat, who recently appeared in BBC sitcom Hebburn, originated the role in 2008 and is eagerly anticipating her return to the cantankerous character. 

She said: “Lucky Numbers is such an amazing show. I’m absolutely delighted to be stepping into Nana’s shoes again and can’t wait to tread the boards on the Customs House stage.”

The new production is being brought to the stage by award-winning director Michael Strassen, who already holds a series of accolades, including Best Director and Best Production in the Off West End Theatre Awards, and is currently receiving rave reviews for his work at the Union Theatre in London.

Michael, who is originally from Seaham, said: “I’m honoured to be taking the director’s chair for a comedy caper that is as lively and loved as Lucky Numbers.  “This is a hilarious, warts and all play about the real people of Newcastle, that had me laughing out loud on the first read of the script. And am looking forward to working in my native North East throughout the show’s 10 day run at the Customs House.”                                                                                 
Lucky Numbers, which features a supporting cast of North East actors, is the latest play by writer Mike Yearman to be staged at the Customs House, which also hosted the debut of his comedy Canoeing for Beginners.  

Mike, who currently has six shows in production and pre-production across Europe, said: “I am thrilled to be bringing Lucky Numbers back to the Customs House as the team there have always been supportive of my work.  It's brilliant seeing the plays go down so well with overseas audiences but nothing beats having productions back here at home.  It will be fantastic to know that while audiences at the Customs House are laughing away, there are three other European audiences laughing at the same time!”

Tickets for Lucky Numbers at the Customs House, South Shields, priced from £14 or £26 including an evening meal, are available now by calling 0191 4541234 or visiting

Preview: Antigone at Northern Stage

Power Play Comes
to the North East

Northern Stage  
7-11 October 2014.

 Contemporary version of Antigone by award-winning playwright Roy Williams to be performed at Newcastle’s Northern Stage

Photo: Robert Day
Following the critical success of his recent plays Kingston 14 at Theatre Royal Stratford East and Pilot Theatre’s touring production of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, the acclaimed and award-winning playwright Roy Williams is once again set to join forces with York-based Pilot Theatre, this time to bring Sophocles' Antigone up to date in a bold new contemporary version of the classic Greek tragedy that will be relevant to today’s audiences.

Photo: Robert Day
Directed by Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director Marcus Romer and co-produced with Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East, Antigone will be at Northern Stage from 7-11 October.

Photo: Robert Day
Williams’ new version of Antigone re-imagines Sophocles’ tale about loyalty and truth, human nature and human behavior in a contemporary setting creating a new piece of theatre that will reverberate with today’s audiences whilst also illustrating Pilot’s excellent reputation for creating innovative work in new and exciting ways for a young theatre audience.

Photo: Robert Day
The production’s excellent cast will include Mark Monero (Steve Elliot in EastEndersand One Man Two Guvnors, National Tour; Gamba Cole (Kingston14, Theatre Royal, Stratford East); Savannah Gordon-Liburd (Loneliness of the long Distance Runner, Pilot Theatre and Oliver Wilson (Henry V, Propeller Theatre Company and Blue/Orange, National Tour).

Photo: Robert Day

Williams said on adapting the classic Greek play: “I was intrigued to know if it was possible to set Antigone in a world that I have written about before, i.e. the gangster culture that is too often the life of a lot of young people today.”

“It has always disturbed me to hear young people say that being in a gang makes them feel powerful. But as we all know power does corrupt. Creon begins the play feeling all-powerful with his gang running ‘tingsin Thebes. It is almost like he and others like him, have put aside other feelings that make us human, like love and fear, in favour of a “live fast, die young” mentality. ” 

Photo: Robert Day
Roy Williams feels the story is very relevant today. He said: “If you watch the news and you see constantly the stories about what’s happening in the Middle East and in Ukraine, you realise the story of power and corruption is still totally relevant - but then it always is. There is another element for me though. The story also has a lot to say about contemporary gang culture, which is something I have written about before. It’s a subject I want to write about, but I want to find original ways of doing that.”

“When I have met young people while researching for plays about gang culture, I’ve been really surprised to hear them talking about themselves in military terms. They refer to themselves as soldiers and talk about gang culture like it is war. That whole notion of gang members seeing themselves as soldiers in a war is something that can be really well explored with the story of Antigone.”

Photo: Robert Day
Pilot Theatre aim to inspire creativity and new ways of thinking and are strategic innovators in the field of digital networks and leaders in the delivery and distribution of work for, by and with young people. Last year the company received much acclaim for their production of Blood + Chocolate.

The production will be supported by an extensive National Schools’ programme which will be run alongside the tour. The programme will provide an informative education resource pack, which explores the themes and story of Antigone and their relevance to the production and in today’s society, especially with young theatregoers. The programme will also be offering parallel work and workshop activities and bespoke participatory projects with the production’s host co-producing venues.

Tickets for Antigone are priced at £24, £19.50 & £14.50 / Students & U21s £12 and can be purchased at the Box Office on 0191 230 5151 or online at
Age suitability: 14+ Contains language and some content that may be unsuitable for under 14s.

Special Offers:
First Night: Buy 3 or more tickets for Fri 12 Sept and get 50% off (excluding concessions tickets).
Multibuy – Booking to see more than one show dramatically reduces the cost of your tickets.  Sit in top-price seats without needing to shell out top-price cash. All you need to do is book your shows in one transaction.
2 shows: £14 per ticket  SAVE up to £20
3 shows: £13 per ticket  SAVE up to £36
4 shows: £10 per ticket  SAVE up to £56
5+ shows: £9 per ticket  SAVE up to £75

Pilot Theatre in partnership with Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East present
A new version by Roy Williams
Director: Marcus Romer
Designer: Joanna Scotcher
Lighting: Alexandra Stafford
Music: Sandy Nuttgens
Associate Director: Tom Bellerby

Doreene Blackstock – Eunice                   Gamba Cole – Eamon
SavannahGordon-Liburd – Antigone     Luke James Guard
Mark Monero – Creon                               Sean Sagar– Soldier 3/Sentry
Frieda Thiel – Esme                                       Lloyd Thomas – Soldier 2
Oliver ThomasOliOliver Wilson – Tyrese/Soldier 1

On The Web

On Tour
7-11 October at 7.30pm (6pm 8 Oct: mat performances 11 Oct at 2pm) - Northern Stage
Box Office: 0191 230 5151 or

13-14 October at 7.30pm (Mat: 14 Oct at 2.30pm) - Lakeside Arts Centre
Box Office: 0115 846777 /

15-18 October at 7.30pm (16 Oct at 1.30pm) - Lawrence Batley Theatre
Box office 01484 430528 or
Post show talk: Tue 18 Mar
21-25 October at 7.30pm (Mat performances 23 Oct at 2pm & 25 Oct at 2.30pm) -York Theatre Royal
Box Office 01904 623568 /

4-8 November at 7.30pm (Mat Performances – 6 & 8 Nov at 2.30pm) -Watford Palace Theatre
Box Office 01923 225671 /
Post Show Discussion: 5 Nov

 11-15 November at 7.30pm (Mat performance – 12 Nov at 1.30pm) -Gulbenkian, Canterbury
 Box Office 01227 769075 or 
 Post show discussion will follow Wed 12 Nov 1.30pm and Thu 13 Nov 7.30pm performances.

18-22 November at 7.30pm (19 Nov at 1pm & 22 Nov at 2.30pm -Theatre Royal Winchester
 Box Office 01962 840440 or

26-29 November at 7.30pm -Exeter Northcott Theatre
Tickets: Box Office 01392 493493 or
Post Show talk: 27 Nov

19 Feb-14 March 2015 at 7.30pm (Thus & Sat at 2.30pm) -Theatre Royal Stratford East
Post-show Q&A Tuesday 3 March.
Box Office: 0208 8534 0310

Review: Double Death at Darlington Civic Theatre

Twin Teaser

Double Death
Darlington Civic Theatre
Until Wednesday 1st October 2014.

Photo: Frazer Ashford
Sibling rivalries are nothing new to the stage, but, are the bonds stronger with identical twins? Double Death is set in an isolated Victorian house on the north coast of Cornwall. Ashley Hennessy is due home after a climbing accident which left him in a wheelchair. Before he gets there his twin Max is setting up an opportunity to get even. Max is caught hanging around by his aunt Lalla, who has looked after both boys since they were 5 or 6, and Max is asked to leave before Ashley arrives with his new carer, Nurse Malahide. Needless to say, Max has other ideas and hangs around to get up to mischief.

Photo: Frazer Ashford
The small cast weave the story in a play that improves greatly in the second half as the plot twists and turns. Tom Butcher keeps up the momentum as he plays both twins. Judy Buxton has the bulk of the laughs as the dotty Aunty Lalla. They are ably supported by Kim Tidy as the nurse and Brian Capron as the detective who is looking forward to retirement.  Not everything in the story makes sense but that that is true of many complex stories in life. Director Philip Stewart ensures that the story doesn’t follow the “Agatha Christie” conventions as no body is lying on the stage as the curtain goes down in the first half.  

The end result is a pleasant evening and a play that doesn’t end the way that you might expect.

This review was written by Stephen Oliverfor Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

On The Web:

Tue & Wed 7.30pm £17.50, £18.50, £20, £22,
Wed 2pm all seats £14
Discounts available

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

Lowestoft Marina Theatre 6-8th October
Basingstoke Haymarket 15-18thOctober


Preview: Dead To Me at Newcastle Northern Stage

Dead Funny Show
Arrives at Northern Stage

Dead To Me
Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 30 September - Friday 3 October 2014
Photo: Selma Dimitrijevic
to: Selma Dimitrijevic

Dead To Me is a disturbingly funny story about a man’s troubled relationship with a psychic and her spirit guide and comes to Newcastle's Northern Stage from Tuesday 30th September until Friday 3rd October 2014

"Blah blah blah PSYCHICS blah blah blah MUST BE REAL blah blah blah HOW COULD THEY KNOW THAT? blah blah blah TALKING TO THE DEAD blah blah IT’S JUST RUBBISH blah blah.”

Sometimes we only hear what we want to hear. Steven is a believer - he believes in reason, logic and humanity. The Psychic believes in the spirits. The dead are always right. Dead to Me is a disturbingly funny story about a man and his troubled relationship with a psychic and her spirit guide. When the truth is confronted, an irreversible chain of events is set in motion and Steven finds out that living people can be unnecessarily cruel because of course the dead are easier to deal with.

Photo: Selma Dimitrijevic
The show has been written by Gary Kitching and is directed by Selma Dimitrijevic.  Director Selma Dimitrijevic said:  "Gary Kitching has been angry about the exploitative, predatory nature of psychics and mediums for years, and instead of going and doing something illegal, he has written a play about it. The play examines the reasons why people seek solace and help from strangers who claim they can speak to the dead, instead of reaching out to their friends and family."

Photo: Selma Dimitrijevic
Writer Gary Kitching is a North East based actor and writer whose show “Me and Mr C” was performed at Northern Stage’s St. Stephens Edinburgh venue in 2012.  Gary said:  “I have been drawn to the supernatural and weird since being a young boy. Watching Friday night Hammer horror films definitely got me hooked in that world. As a teenager and into my early twenties, I would believe pretty much anything that I came across that was spiritual, new age or mystic. I even spent good money on visiting a few psychics and to my shame owned a set of ancient (mass produced) runes. I wanted to believe that there was more to this life than the confines of reality. However the more I read about psychics, healers and general mystics the more it became clear to me that these people where far from the benevolent compassionate personas they wished to portray themselves as. They seemed to me to be greedy unscrupulous vultures picking at the bones of another human’s personal grief and insecurities. It made me angry. It made me realise that instead of escaping the confines of reality what I needed to do was embrace reality, logic and reason. We are all on this planet for a finite time. If we used that time to engage with our fellow humans to share each other’s grief, doubts and joy the world in my view would be a happier and healthier place. Just because I believe a unicorn lives in my garden; it doesn’t mean they actually exist.”


Tickets: £10 / £8 concs / £15 with When We Embraced (Jowheretogo Preview to "When we embraced" link)

Running time: 1 hour

Age recommendation: 12+

Multibuy Book an additional show and get your tickets cheaper! Look out for the logo.

3+First Night: Buy 3 or more tickets for Tues 30 Sept and get 50% off (excluding concessions tickets).