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REVIEW: The Syndicate at Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Syndicate

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Until Saturday 11 May 2024

The Syndicate, based upon the first series of the BBC One show has rolled over into Newcastle this week. Kay Mellor's final play looks at the journey of a lottery winning syndicate and the complications that can happen when you win big money.

Stuart (Benedict Shaw) works in a small supermarket. He is short of money and desperately wants to set up his own home with his expectant partner Amy (Brooke Vincent) and their children. He has more debt than funds and as a result he is five weeks behind on paying for his stake in the lottery syndicate. His younger brother Jamie (Oliver Anthony) also works at the store and he comes up with a plan to rob the store after the boss Bob (William Ilkley) points out that a bigger store is taking over and that they'll need to reapply for their jobs.

Bob leaves the store early as he is ill and he trusts Stuart to cash up. Once fellow workmates Denise (Samantha Giles) and Leanne (Rosa Coduri-Fulford) head home they carry out their crime for the benefit the CCTV cameras. Unfortunately Bob comes back as he has forgotten his phone and their plans quickly unravel. 

DCI Newall is sent to investigate and, just like Columbo, he starts chipping away at the evidence. However, in addition to taking on board the robbery, Denise appears with the news that her partner has left her and they have scooped the big prize on the lottery - and Kay (Gaynor Faye) is coming down to verify the win.

Thus the audience are faced with two questions: will the lads get away with their crime and how will the syndicate members cope from thinking that they are going to lose their jobs to suddenly having a large sum of cash at their disposal. 

Gaynor Faye also directs this pacey drama and manages to let the story develop - though it has to be said, there are few surprises as the story unfolds. People with cash suddenly find people want to know them, they also often splash their cash around buying stuff - no surprises there. Nor many surprises as the DCI keeps reappearing with more evidence as that will naturally happen in a police investigation. Having said that - some of the audience were getting really involved with gasps and the odd involuntary "oh dear!" or "oh no!". At least that is a sign that they were investing in the story.

The syndicate is a pacy drama that has a more modern feel than, say, an Agatha Christie crime story. It is also happy to be based in Leeds and have Yorkshire accents, The end result is a pleasant and fun night at the theatre.

Photos:  Dave Hogan


The Syndicate plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Wednesday 8 – Saturday 11 May 2024. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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