Blokes, Fellas, Geezers
By Jake Jarratt
Arts Centre Washington
Thursday 26 September 2019
A fine debut from Jake Jarratt about being raised in the insular town of Crook, County Durham, began its tour around the region in Washington.
This is a single-handed show in which Jake is accompanied by a number of white boxes which he starts the show by building a wall, occasionally turning the box around to show a caricature of one of his Dad’s legends from the pub. Crook is one of those towns in which people know each other. A place in which the cheap ale and familiar company keeps the regulars from straying to Newcastle or Durham for a Friday night session. But it is also described as the sort of place in which disputes can be quickly sorted with a punch.
This show is sharply focussed on the bond between a father and his son from the son’s perspective. We see the six year old who looks up to his Dad, idolises him and wants forgiveness when a mistake makes life disagreeable for the old man. But we also see the young man who is going out drinking or going fly fishing himself and views his father in a different light.
Like a television programme such as The Royale Family, this production works best if you recognise the references. From a family using a paddling pool in order to keep the BBQ beers cold as they don’t have a freezer box through to the sense of achievement when the Dad says he is proud of his son’s achievement. The humour too comes from the conversations that happen between mates and between drinking partners.
The boxes act as a prop to enable the story telling. However, this show relies heavily on the storytelling capabilities of Jake Jarratt, with the occasional sound effect. It is easy to warm to Jake and to accept the persona of both the young man and young child.
I’m not sure if the intro music was meant to sound like a warped vinyl record but it was a little distracting at the start.
The debut show is well crafted and will resonate amongst audiences on the fringe circuit. Jake is an actor to keep an eye on as his likable on stage persona and believable characterisation make for a good experience for the audience.
Review by Stephen Oliver
Written & Performed by Jake Jarratt
Directed by Scott Young
Producer by Erin Connor
Sound Design by Nick John Williams
Lighting Design by Louise Gregory
Dramaturgy by Ruth Johnson
Stage Management by Andrea Scrimshaw
Arts Centre Washington – 26th September 2019
Harrogate Theatre – 27th September 2019
Theatre Deli Sheffield – 2nd October 2019
Byker Community Centre – 4th October 2019
Durham Gala (Durham Book Festival) – 5th October 2019
Waddington Street Centre – 8th October 2019
Trimdon Station Community Centre – 19th October 2019