Thursday, 31 August 2017

Preview: Frankenstein 1899 at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Tyne Theatre & Opera House and Don’t Go Into The Cellar Theatre Company present:
Frankenstein 1899
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Saturday 9th September 2017 @ 7.30pm

The nineteenth century is drawing to an end, and a brave new world is set to dawn. But the new age of enlightenment and reason will soon be challenged, and scientific fact cast asunder, when the charismatic preacher, Frankenstein, shocks Britons to the core with his claims. For the Reverend can communicate with the dead, and those sceptics intolerant of his beliefs will soon pay for their blasphemy…

Acclaimed actor Jonathan Goodwin plays Frankenstein, and is joined by actress Amy Bullock, in a show directed by Gary Archer.

This event will take place on the Tyne Theatre & Opera House stage with audience seating on stage, therefore seating is unreserved and tickets are limited.

Please note that due to the nature of the show we cannot grant access to patrons with mobility issues. No Age Restrictions.

Tickets are priced £14, £12 concessions (Plus booking fees when booking online or over the phone) and are available from our afilliate Eventim.

Preview: The Vera Lynn Story at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Sincerely Yours -

The Vera Lynn Story
Whitley Bay Playhouse

Sunday 17th September 2017 - 2 pm

‘Keep smiling through just like you always do‘- Vera Lynn
Her fresh-faced girl-next door looks made Vera Lynn one of the darlings of the British Forces during the Second World War. Her greatest wartime hits were undoubtedly The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again although there are, of course, many more. Vera Lynn possessed a broad, sincere smile endearing herself to a generation of airmen, seamen and soldiers with an affection that did not wane after the war.
Endorsed by Dame Vera Lynn, SINCERELY YOURS - The VERA LYNN STORY will take you through the amazing life of the forces' sweetheart. With video screen footage and a 7 piece live band, this full matinee show will transport the audience back to the 1940s, complete with a special guest appearance from a George Formby act.

Tickets costing £18.50 are available now.

Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday
10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am – 2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online at our afilliate Eventim

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Preview: Ocean Film Festival World Tour at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Ocean Film Festival World Tour 2017

Whitley Bay Playhouse
Thursday 14th September 2017
7.30 pm

Whitley Bay Playhouse are pleased to announce the return of the Ocean Film Festival on Thursday 14th September 2017.

Photo: Perrin James
Calling all ocean lovers! The annual Ocean Film Festival is sweeping towards Whitley Bay with a brand new selection of the world’s most amazing ocean films, from both above and below the surface.

Brought to you by the team behind the Banff Film Festival UK Tour, this collection of short films celebrates divers, paddlers, surfers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray. Be wowed at the mind blowing marine life; exhilarated by the power of the waves, and inspired by the characters who dedicate their lives to answering the call of the ocean.
Tickets are now on sale costing £13, £11 conc.,

Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday
10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am – 2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588* or online from: our afilliate Eventim

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

REVIEW: Dogfight at Durham Assembly Rooms Theatre

Durham Assembly Rooms Theatre
Until Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Music & Lyrics:                                Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book:                                               Peter Duchan

Director & Choreographer:         Anna Besford-Smith
Musical director:                           Amy Robson

We love the brave decision when a theatre company decides to do a new musical rather than one of the familiar pot boilers.

Dogfight is based upon the 1991 film of the same name. No, we don’t remember the film either. However, the topic of lads on “shore leave” before going into action is not a new one for the movies. The musical got good reviews during its 2012 Off-Broadway and 2014 Southwark Broadway runs. The cast recording has many positive comments on Amazon too. So, in a fairly quiet week for theatre, we headed off to the Durham Theatre.

It is 1963 and Eddie Birdlace (Luke Henderson) finds himself with one night in San Fransisco before being shipped out to Viet Nam first thing the following morning. Along with Bernstein (Kyle Potter), Boland (Adam Donaldson) and others, he decides to make the most of it before heading into the unknown theatre of conflict. The lads want a drink, to be competitive, find female companionship and build bonds between the comrades.

They meet up with the innocent music lover Rose (Amber Cox) and the much more street-wise Marcy (Anna Besford-Smith).

This was the first night and the first act had numerous problems with the sound but the situation was greatly improved in the second half. It was during the second half when we get to hear some great songs by Pasek & Paul. Amber Cox, in particular, had a chance to shine - both as a singer and as the really spunky character Rose. 

There was an authenticity to the young age of the Jarheads as Paul Hardcastle reminded us in his 80s hit - the average age of the combat soldier in Viet Nam was 19. Too often these roles get cast to older actors. Having said that, the story struggles to show any comradeship or chemistry between the new marines. With the exception of Rose and Birdlace, it is difficult to actually like any of the people and this lack of empathy can be off putting.

Amy Robson led a good group of musicians that skilfully accompanied the singers and were consistent throughout the show.

Dogfight is an interesting musical for those who love seeing new works. Now the first night nerves are out of the way it is clear from the second act that this show will improve as the run continues.

Review: Stephen Oliver


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Preview: Jason Cook’s Comedy Club at South Shields Customs House


Jason Cook’s Comedy Club
South Shields Customs House
Saturday 2nd September 2017

After a busy summer, Jason Cook is returning to the helm of his comedy club at The Customs House this weekend.

As well as performing in and overseeing the South Tyneside Comedy Festival, the comedian and writer has been working on Murder on the Blackpool Express for UKTV comedy channel GOLD.

Steffen Peddie as ‘Dekkka Trump’ on stage

with Jason Cook
Jason Cook’s Comedy Club returns on Saturday 2nd September, and Jason will be joined on stage by Nick Cranston, Steffen Peddie as ‘Dekkka Trump’ and Jarred Christmas.

He said: “After our summer break the comedy club is back with one of our best line-ups ever!  First up is Nick Cranston, a local lad who's been going great guns and one I've been hoping to book for the club for a long time. In the middle there will be the return of one of our favourite guests, local councillor and cousin of Donald Trump, Tyneside’s own Dekkka Trump.  

Jarred Christmas
“Dekkka has the unusual habit of having political scandals swirl around him almost exactly the same as his cousin, but on a much more regional level, so it'll be interesting to see what’s happened to him over the summer. And closing I have managed to get New Zealand's very own Jarred Christmas. I've worked at all the biggest festivals in the world with Jarred and he's a comic who just whips up a room and blows the roof off.  I've never been less than in awe of the things he's able to do with a crowd so I'm beyond chuffed that he's come to the club.”

Nick Cranston
Jason performed with Chris Ramsey, Sarah Millican and the Geordie Rat Pack during the South Tyneside Comedy Festival this year, which saw 14 acts take to the stage throughout July and August for the second annual event at The Customs House.

The line-up also included Ray Spencer and Bob Stott, Rory Bremner, Adam Rowe, The Mimic Men, Jo Caulfield, Ed Gamble, Stephen K Amos, Carl Hutchinson, Peter Brush, Steffen Peddie and Pete Firman.

He said: “The comedy festival this year exceeded all expectations and we saw thousands of people flock to The Customs House to support what we were doing.  And with a line-up of the biggest stars in stand-up, it's proof that the festival is here to stay and we're looking forward to building on what we have now.”

Jason Cook’s Comedy Club takes place on the first Saturday of the month and the show starts at 7.45pm, with a recommended age of 16-plus.
Tickets are £9.50 and available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at


Preview: Forgotten Broadway at South Shields Customs House


Forgotten Broadway
South Shields Customs House
Sunday 3rd September 2017

A musical tribute to a much-loved theatre director has attracted stars of stage and screen to perform in support of two local charities.

Jackie Fielding
Forgotten Broadway is the title of this year’s fundraiser in aid of The Jackie Fielding Trust and The Customs House Trust. It takes place on Sunday 3rd September at 7pm at The Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, where Jackie Fielding oversaw many popular productions.

Among the acts lined up to perform are West End actors Jamie Birkett and Alice Stokoe, The Voice’s Melissa Cavanagh, The Customs House panto favourites Steven Lee Hamilton and David John Hopper and local singing group Encore.

Jen Stevens, Angela Hannon, Rosie Ramsey, Louise Gray, Lauren Gordon, Bethan Amber Carr-Brown and South Tyneside Dance Workshop will also appear and the evening will be compered by Ray Spencer, Executive Director of The Customs House.

Gareth Hunter, artistic director of Ion Productions, who has put the show together, said: “The show will feature lesser known, newer or forgotten musical theatre songs with something for everyone. There is a fantastic line-up of people giving us their time and to add to the music, Ray Spencer will be on hand to guide us through the evening in his own unique style. There are two great charities being supported on the evening and it would be great if we got a good turnout.”

The Jackie Fielding Trust was launched last year to help young people from the north east pursue a career in the performing arts, awarding a total of £2,000 in its first year.

Gareth added: “Jackie was well-respected and critically-acclaimed as both an actress and a director. She was someone always willing to lend a hand to help others, whether it was an upcoming actor, a new writer or just a friend in need.”

Jackie was renowned for her unwavering support, advocacy and development of emerging artists in the north east, many of whom have since gone on to carve out successful careers in their chosen genres.

Jackie, who lived in South Shields but was originally from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, died in May 2015, after suffering a brain aneurysm while working on The Man and the Donkey at The Customs House.

She studied drama at Manchester University before attending the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, which she would not have been able to do without the help of state funding. For this reason, her family and friends were keen to raise money in her memory to support young people from the north east in need of funding towards training fees for musical theatre, dance and acting courses.

Tickets for Forgotten Broadway are priced from £15. Contact the box office on (0191) 455 1234 or book online at
The trustees of The Jackie Fielding Trust have also set up a JustGiving page for those who can’t make the show, but would still like to donate. It can be found at

Preview: Cinderella at Whitley Bay Playhouse


Whitley Bay Playhouse
Saturday 2nd December 2017Sunday 7th January 2018

Steve Walls & Ray Quinn
X Factor Finalist and West End performer Ray Quinn will headline this year's
Pantomime Cinderella at the Playhouse in Whitley Bay. Ray will play the part of Prince Charming the lovable prince who rescues Cinderella from her Ugly Sisters at Hardup Hall.

Ray joins the hugely popular local funny guy Steve Walls who returns to the
Playhouse for his eighth year in Panto playing the part of Buttons.

Producer Gary Telfer said: “We can’t wait to produce Cinderella’ this year, it is without a doubt the most popular and traditional pantomime of them all its every girl's dream to be like Cinderella. This year is going to be our biggest and best year ever and we are thrilled to have signed such a high-quality performer as Ray Quinn, Ray is extremely popular as well as being a fantastic performer he has performed in many musicals up and down the country including Grease in London’s West End”

Ray Quinn
Ray can currently be seen in a number 1 tour of the Wedding Singer, which is touring the UK and has been to the Sunderland Empire. The Playhouse pantomime attracts more and more popular each year, in fact, most of the shows sold out last year. We are keen to continue building the reputation that we have built in Whitley Bay, which has grown dramatically over the last 5 years. Last year we catered for almost 5000 extra people than in 2015.

This year’s run has been extended by a full week, there will be 67 action-packed performances of Cinderella’ at the Playhouse, Whitley Bay from 2nd December 2017 – 7th January 2018.

Tickets are on sale now and already selling fast. Call the Playhouse Box Office on 0844 248 1588 or book online: Tickets from our afilliate Eventim.