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Review: Testing Times at Newcastle People’s Theatre

Testing Times
By Steve Burbridge
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Thursday 20th November 2014

Local musician Sam Dickinson’s brilliant “Learn To Wait” is playing as the three actors come to the stage. They sit perched on high chairs and tell a story of the lives of three people who are linked by love and the need to cope.

Christopher Strain appears as Dominic, a young lad who has had to put up with homophobic bullying throughout most of his life. At school his teachers felt such behaviours were more acceptable than racism or sexism. His peers felt it was an opportunity to abuse him verbally, physically and sexually. Christopher portrays Dominic as an engaging individual who draws the audience into his world without preaching or demanding the sympathy vote.

Chris is Dominic’s partner and is made more believable by having some significant differences whilst still being in a loving relationship. Dominic’s Mum is Brenda and she has raised him the best way that a loving Mother could. Jamie Brown and Pauline Fleming interact subtly as the story develops and react facially as news is delivered.

Steve Burbridge has written a play based upon the experiences of real people and the descriptions of the behaviour of those not on the stage may seem shocking. Perhaps life in 2014 isn’t as enlightened as one would hope. As the play unfolds the nature of Dominic and Chris’ relationship is explored from the first date.  Not everyone comes out with the response that you’d hope you would come out when big news is broken. Nor do they, with hindsight, wish they say or do the things they do.

The end result is a credible and satisfying play about the human condition and the need for love and ultimately acceptance. This is a play which shows that the 1,385 people have been diagnosed HIV+ in the North East of England are not the only ones affected.

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

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Adult £11.50 and £9.50 Concessions
Monday 17 – Thursday 20 November, 2014 at 7.30pm
The People’s Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF
Tickets are available from Steve Burbridge or the People's Theatre Box Office.
Telephone:  0191 265 5020

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