Thursday, October 12, 2017

Geordie the Musical -Review- Tyne Theatre

Geordie The Musical
Wednesday 11th of October 2017
Tyne and Opera Theatre.

Written by Tom Kelly
From a story by Andy Bogle
Directed by Jamie Brown
Musical Direction by Mike Turnbull

Geordie The Musical takes us back in time to 1890 at The Wheatsheaf Pub,  a place where a good pint and a sing song are guaranteed on the banks of the River Tyne.

James Melia is the landlord of the pub and is played by Dale Meeks. He has just recovered from a nasty injury that he received after a pit accident which made him unable to go back to his job. His wife, Bella Melia is the real boss of the family and is played by Viktoria Kay, she is feisty and doesn’t take any prisoners but is well liked. Their daughter is played by Eleanor Chaganis who is extremely bright and is hopefully off to Durham University.

The pub has its regulars including Michael Cumisky who is played by Luke Maddison, he is a good old Irish boy who has come to the North East to look for work and finds it. Another is Robert, played by Cullercoats’ very own Phil Corbett.  Micky Cochrane plays iconic Geordie songwriter Tommy Armstrong and Donald Mcbride plays Oliver Heslop, another North East legend. Adam Donaldson plays John Thompson, an Oxford University student that comes to Newcastle to further his studies.

Amongst all the humour the tone is brought down by Joshua Adams. He is played by James Hedley who always seems to be a bad person in anything I see him in!

The pub is where most of the action takes place, and a community is built within this pub, which I do think is lacking in everyday life these days. Something which I think needs to change. Using the talents of both Tommy Armstrong and Oliver Heslop to convey what it was like back in the 1890s, it deals with issues such as job satisfaction, death, gender equality and class inequality... problems which are still ongoing today.

I believe they understood it better back in those days and that's why a sense of community was stronger then. What happens now is that people requiring help look mainly to the government. I think the church needs to help people (and I'm a Christian myself) We need to stop being so focused on ourselves in general and help others. To me, this musical showed what can happen if people come together.

The Set is fantastic and is designed by Kate Unwin. It is complemented extremely well by the lighting and sound design of Chris Miller and the duo Chris Allen and Reece Lyons. Lou Duffy was the costume designer for the show and they were fantastic.

Two people who were on stage but in a non speaking role were Adam Nyberg and Peter Morris. They played the violin and double bass respectively and it just added the final great touches to the play.

The show was in memory of Jackie Fielding who was due to direct it. She unfortunately was taken far too soon and Jamie Brown stepped in. I have to say the whole cast and crew of the show should be so proud. I’m sure Jackie would be pleased if she was still with us.

With great songs such as Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny, The Water of Tyne and Byker Hill and Walker Shore (which I have to say was the best song of the night, MD Mike Turnbull has to take the credit there) and not forgetting Blaydon Races, which sent shivers down my back it was that good.

I'd brush up on your Geordie dialect if I were you or you may not understand much.

But, it’s a great play full of North East pride and values that should never be lost.

Reuben Hiles

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