18th June 2013
As part of the Festival Of The North East 2013 People's Theatre bring back to the region Peter Straughan's Bones.
Bones is the story of Benny, Ruben Stein, Beck, Moon and the run down 1960's porn cinema/club that they are struggling to run.
Monies are owed to the local gangster running a protection racket, he wields his 'business' with an iron rod...or as Benny the owner finds out a hefty kick in the face.
Times are hard and the flow of mac wearing punters has all but dried up. To while away the time in the cinema, Beck and Moon watch and argue over Bogart and Cagney films, strangely in fancy dress!
Beck's is full of bravado, and is one short hop and skip away to becoming the next new Geordie Mafioso (in his head anyways), whilst Moon is just happy go lucky, working along side his mates, although he would love to get away from the horrors of what he has to clean up at the end of the films (I hope rubber gloves are provided for him!).
Benny and Ruben are Jewish brothers (same mother, different fathers) although not much love is lost between them. Ruben is not coping very well with the loss of his twin in a fire started by his father many years ago. Benny and Ruben both have the same self styled loathing of their religion, which triggers a lot of disharmony between them.
This disharmony goes well out of control when one quiet day Reggie Kray stumbles into the club, looking for a girl whom he can have his evil way with. Ruben tells him he will sort him out, before serving heavy alcohol.
The kray situation leads to a lot of hype, delusions of grandeur and lots and lots of confusion.
Ruben thinking that he can solve the problems of the club and get a nice little earner for his collegues, decides to get Reg drunk, tie him up and submit a ransom request to Reg's brother Ronnie.
Not everything is as it seems though, and the manic desperation of confusion leads the foursome to come up with a solution to their little 'cockney' problem. Their dawning realisation that their money problems are merely a pin prick in the ocean.
With a fantastic stage setting of the run down club (Peter Harrison), cigarette smoke wafting with every breath, the players acted their hearts out. Very funny black humour, laced with a lot of 'turn your hair blue' language transformed the People's into memories of the bygone age...not to say that everybody in the audience, of course, has memories of a 1960's porn club!
The acting was slick, fresh and with the writing skills of Straughan's talent, very very real.
Steve Robertson, playing the very hassled Benny was top class as he fought for some kind of sanity amongst the madness of the situation. I have seen Steve before at the People's but never as strong as this.
As Reggie, Kevin Gibson was superb, his accent alone would win competitions, again I have seen Kevin before, but that was totally surpassed by this performance. A very real and delightful display.
Simon Motie as Ruben fitted very well into his edgy character, a really good performance bouncing well off the others in the cast.
Micky McGregor and Keith Henderson, playing Beck and Moon, both lit the stage up with lightening glimpses of fab humour, along with a super array of fancy dress of course.
Directors Pat Haggerty and Catherine Edwards, must be thrilled with their efforts. To get this play back into the hearts and minds of the people, meant a solid performance had to be achieved. This play was spot on. A breath of fresh air (..well Woodbine smelling fresh air!)
If you want fast paced, black humoured comedy, with some fantastic acting all intertwined, then get yourself along to the People's. It is a must.
Bones is playing until Sat 22 June.