We always said the booze would kill him. It was the family joke: at every wedding or christening or funeral he’d be propping up the bar, and we’d all say, “God, what must your liver look like?” and pat him on the back, and laugh, and he’d laugh, and cough, and take a long drag … Continue reading Alfie


The Blue Electric Wind – 4 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. The Blue Electric Wind is a new piece of writing, by ex-Royal Court Young Writer Brad Birch, commissioned by the National Theatre’s literary department specifically for young performers. It is, as would be expected, a great script with some interesting and complex ideas, and the cast of the Young People’s Theatre do … Continue reading The Blue Electric Wind – 4 stars

Breaking the Code – 5 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. Hugh Whitemore’s play about the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing - key player in the breaking of the German Enigma code at Bletchley Park during World War II and a pioneer of computer science – was first presented at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1986, before transferring to Broadway the following year. It … Continue reading Breaking the Code – 5 stars

Go Back For Murder – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. After having watched the 1980 film of ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ just the other night, I was very much in the mood for more Agatha Christie and was looking forward to this People’s production when it opened this week. All in all, it’s fair to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The play is … Continue reading Go Back For Murder – 3 stars

Hi-de-Hi! – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. Stage adaptations of popular classic television comedies are ten a penny these days - understandably so in the current climate of aiming to get as many bums on seats as possible. This is the third such adaptation I’ve seen the People’s stage in recent years (the other two being Yes, Prime Minister … Continue reading Hi-de-Hi! – 3 stars

Richard III – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. Taking on a play such as this is always ambitious, but the People’s have the talent and the resources and here they pull it off pretty well. Staging is simple but effective, with some lovely little touches that help to maintain the theatrical entertainment of the piece and prevent it from becoming … Continue reading Richard III – 3 stars

Dance Across The Tyne – 4 stars

Customs House, South Shields. After the huge success of last year’s award-winning Dance To Your Daddy, writer-composer team David Cooke and Grahame Wright had a lot to live up to when they were approached by the Customs House to produce a follow up for this year’s Community Play. The team magic and dynamic is clearly … Continue reading Dance Across The Tyne – 4 stars

The Fifteen Streets – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. Published in 1952, The Fifteen Streets was Catherine Cookson’s second book. The story came to her very quickly and completely: “Within an hour I had the whole story, right from the opening to the very last words. Every character, every incident and definitely the background. It was all there. I knew here … Continue reading The Fifteen Streets – 3 stars

And A Nightingale Sang – 5 stars

Less in MORE theatre company, Middlesbrough Theatre. Glasgow-born playwright CP Taylor had a long-standing relationship with Live Theatre in Newcastle, with many of his plays first performed there. ‘And A Nightingale Sang’ began life in the 1970s as an oral-history project commissioned by Live, first performed there in 1978, set in and around Eldon Square … Continue reading And A Nightingale Sang – 5 stars

Yes Prime Minister – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. The original BBC series’ ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ are widely considered as genuine comedy classics, and so a brand new up-to-date stage version was greatly anticipated when it first opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2010, subsequently embarking upon a West End run and a national tour the following … Continue reading Yes Prime Minister – 3 stars