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Review: Get Carter at Newcastle Northern Stage

Jack Is Back… and he wants
 to settle a score
Get Carter
Newcastle Northern Stage
Friday 12th February – Saturday 5th March 2016

Jack Carter heads up to Newcastle to attend his brother’s funeral… The Northern Stage capture the tension of the cult 70s film in a captivating thriller.

Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter
Photos  Mark Savage
The latest Northern Stage production is based upon Ted Lewis’s novel “Jack’s Return Home” which was turned into the 1971 Mike Hodges film starring Michael Cain. Whilst the book is set in Doncaster, the film and this production are both set in Newcastle.  Having said that, the script writer Torben Betts has gone back to the original book in order to create the Northern Stage drama.

Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter
Photos  Topher McGrillis
Newcastle-born Kevin Wathen plays Jack Carter, a man who has been working in London. He heads up to Newcastle to attend his brother’s funeral and he suspects foul play. His brother Frank was a mild mannered chap who did as he was told so the fact that his alcohol soaked dead body was found at the bottom of a cliff doesn’t add up. Jack decides to start prodding around and starts to upset the men who run things and they want him to head back to London.
Jack decides to follow his personal code and tidy up a few matters before running away to South Africain order to put it al behind him. He plans to take his brothers daughter, Doreen, and his lover with him.

Kevin Wathen as Jack,
Amy Cameron as Doreen +
Michael Hodgson as Con
Photos  Topher McGrillis
The film leaves some big shoes to fill as Michael Cain owned the screen whenever he was in the scene. Kevin Wathen, likewise, owns the set and is very comfortable in the role. A key difference between the play and the film lies in this pivotal role. In the film, Mike Hodges had Cain staring past the camera and not always explaining his actions. Like the book, the Torben Betts script explores much more of the internal dialogue that is going through Jack’s brain. Director Lorne Campbell has Jack directing his inner turmoil at his dead brother Frank (Martin Douglas). In doing so  Lorne helps anyone who hasn’t either seen the film, or read the book, understand what is going on.  Having said that, the audience isn’t overloaded with too much exposition.

Victoria Elliott as Margaret,
Amy Cameron as Doreen +
 Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter
Photos  Topher McGrillis
The cast remain tight throughout the show. The female characters are not seen as weak. Doreen (Amy Cameron) gives as good as she gets. The roles of both Margaret and Glenda are portrayed confidently by Victoria Elliott.

Benjamin Cawley adds to the role of chauffeur Eric. Michael Hodgson has sufficient presence to handle the role of gangland boss Cyril Kinnear. Donald McBride uses his experience to add some depth to the role of the slot-machine king Cliff Brumby.

Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter
Photos  Topher McGrillis
The lighting design by Kristina Hjelm takes advantage of the 59 Productions Ltd set design. Some key moments  appearing as huge shadows on a wall leaving some action to the audiences imagination.

Amy Cameron as Doreen +
 Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter
Photos  Topher McGrillis
This reviewer has been a fan of both the book and the film and had high hopes once this show was announced. It is therefore pleasing to report that Lorne Campbell’s Get Carter is as good as the film. By following the book it takes a different approach to the story which may surprise some of the audience.

The show isn’t suitable for children and as it has a lot of swearing.

Get Carter remains a powerful production that is well worth seeking out.

Kevin Wathen as Jack
 Martin Douglas as Frank +
Amy Cameron as Doreen
Photos  Topher McGrillis

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for the North East Theatre Guide from Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook


Victoria Elliott as Glenda,
Donald McBride as Brumby +
Kevin Wathen as Jack –
set design Leo Warner 59 Productions
Photos  Topher McGrillis
Jack Kevin Wathen
Frank Martin Douglas
Doreen Amy Cameron
Margaret/Glenda Victoria Elliott
Eric Benjamin Cawley
Kinnear/Con Michael Hodgson
Albert/Brumby Donald McBride

Creative team:

Director Lorne Campbell
Writer Torben Betts
Set Designer Leo Warner/59 Productions
Costume Designer Imogen Cloet
Lighting Designer Kirstina Hjelm

Martin Douglas as Frank Carter on drums
Photos  Topher McGrillis
Get Carter appears at Newcastle’s Northern Stage from Friday 12th February to Saturday 5th March 2016

Tue - Fri & Sat matinees: £24, £19.40, £14.50 / Students/Under 21s: £12 Concessions Available
Saturday Evenings: 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 5 Mar - 7.30pm, £25, £19.50, £14.50 / Students/Under 21s: £12

Box Office: call 0191 230 5151.

Age recommendation: 16+
Post show discussion: Wed 24 Feb
Newcastlein the 60s: Thu 25 Feb 6.30pm. A FREEpre-show talk, but please book online (45mins).

Tour dates:

Benjamin Cawley as Eric Pace
Photos  Topher McGrillis
8-12 March, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
0141 429 0022

15-19 March, Richmond Theatre, London
0844 871 7651

22-26 March, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
024 7655 3055

5-9 April, Cast, Doncaster
01302 303 959

12-16 April, Gala, Durham
03000 266 600

19-23 April, The Lowry, Salford
0843 208 6000

26-30 April, Nuffield, Southampton
023 8067 1771

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