Saturday, 27 October 2012

Theatre Review "Blue Boy" at Northern Stage

                                                             Jack McMillan, The Boy

I awoke early this Saturday morning to the unmistakable glow of snow through the window. The earliest snow I remember, settled ready for the October half term holiday. My son woke up, understandably excited, was cajoled into a warm dressing gown and slippers on top of his fluffy pyjamas despite his protests that he was "too warm". This is the sort of care I would rather all children had from their parents. But of course there are so many kids who don't have a safe home, who run out of places to turn, who have to be referred to social services to give them some kind of safe haven or to help the family work out its problems.

The social care system is woefully underfunded and those working in it are under immense pressure to deliver care under tighter and tighter budgets. Social workers have bigger and bigger caseloads. Managers have larger areas to cover. Children, despite all the good intentions of people who go into the sector to do a good job, becomes just another name on a list.

Margaret Wilkinson wrote this play influenced by the high profile cases a number of years ago, of children dying whilst in care. She wanted to imagine what it would be like to be blamed or blame oneself for the death of of the children in her care. Margaret uses the term "office gothic" for this claustrophobic tale of a haunted office worker. Reagan is working through the night under mountains of files trying to meet a deadline, when he is disturbed by a boy, apparently sleeping rough and seeking shelter in the office. The boy's presence becomes increasingly unsettling as Reagan is forced to guess his name, he should know it. The boy was one of his cases. That, Margaret says, is in parallel with the story of Rumplestiltskin as Reagan must "spin straw into gold" (sort out his cases) and guess the name by morning. The boy longs to be a real boy as did Pinocchio but memos, cutbacks, interventions, protection orders tick boxes, they don't get you a family.

In Blue Boy you are left wondering what Reagan must feel, who is the boy. Why is he here? Who is to blame?

Alex Elliott (whom I saw in Best in the World recently so inspiring, went back, took my son the second time) played Reagan in what looked to be an emotionally exhausting and draining performance. Getting  more tired and drunker as the story develops, Reagan's already cracked existence is picked apart by this sad and familiar presence. Jack MacMillan, who graduated from East 15 Acting School this year, played the boy. He did a fine job of making the boy hard to read, mildly threatening, manipulative, and yet innocent and yearning for a normal life.
                                                                Alex Elliott, Reagan

There were approximately 89, 000 "looked after" children in the UK in 2011. See the Blue Boy Website. The average number of cases held across the UK is 25, ranging from an average of 11 for students to 25 for qualified social workers who do not hold any management responsibilities and 30 for those who do. Newly qualified social workers hold 21 cases on average, 16% less than more experienced social workers. (source: Community Care website). By under-resourcing this service we are not only damaging the lives of those young people in care but the lives of those who have entered the profession with a desire to do good.

The play runs until Saturday 27th October at Northern Stage  Further dates in the Northeast:

30th October: Durham Town Hall as part of the Durham Book Festival
4th November Darlington Civic Centre at Central Hall, Dolphin Centre.
5-6th November Customs House, South Shields.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

NE1FM What's on show, by JoWhereToGo 7-16thNov

Welcome to JoWhereToGo!

Here's the place where I'll put all the facts, figures and phone numbers you'll need to book those days and nights out I mention on the show. Also there'll be extra events I didn't have time to hour just flies by on radio!


Friday 9th November

Spunge at the O2 Academy 6.30pm Ska-punk rockers Spunge bring their Brit-ska madness to the O2 in Newcastle. Wear comfy shoes, and skank. A lot.

The Proclaimers + Blueflint at Newcastle City Hall 7:30pm Craig & Charlie Reid celebrate their 25th Anniversary with their ninth album, 'Like Comedy' and head out on tour in the UK and Europe.

Saturday 10th November

Ed Sheeran at Newcastle City Hall. (and 11th November) He's done well this lad with his brand of nice acoustic tunes, that tug at teenage heartstrings and give ironing people something to warble along to. I was convinced he was the red headed lad in the Harry Potter films. Putting that actor in his music video didn't help my confusion!

The Wedding Present at O2 Academy from 6.30pm. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of their "Seamonsters" LP, the "Weddoes" will be playing it in it's entirety...a phrase that seems to be popping up about a lot of old bands these days!

Guns 2 Roses O2 Academy Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Said to be the best GNR tribute in the world. To be honest, they might be better behaved.....Axl?

Nightporter, Kobadelta, Buried in Smoke by Shame Events (Check out their facebook page...lots of gigs and events coming up!: Shame Events )at Dog and Parrot, Clayton Street Newcastle. One of a ongoing series of Saturday night gigs at the D&P. see Event: on Facebook.
Nightporter :Photo by Stan Miedziak

Sham 69 at the Black Bull (2 Mulgrave Terrace,Gateshead NE8 1PQ.) With their original guitarist Neil Harris back in the fold, and 5 years of touring after a long rest, they promise to keep going til they drop!

Sunday 11th November

Oh, decisions, decisions...

Run From Robots at LYH, Newcastle upon Tyne. Energetic pop punk gaining good reviews from Rock Sound and Big Cheese magazine.

Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Sage, Gateshead 7.00pm Southern blues rock makes a welcome return to Gateshead. Featuring original member Gary Rossington plus Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke and Michael Cartellone.

Mad Dog Mcrea + Cosmo Jarvis The Cluny & The Cluny 2, from 8:00pm  Newcastle upon Tyne. This could be a "mental" gig. Mad Dog play a blend of folk, pop, gypsy, jazz, rock, telling tales of life, love, adventure....Cosmo Jarvis is another artist not easily pigeonholed. His songs of obsession, gay pirates, paranoia...I think I might be at this one!

Monday 12th November

Deaf Havana + Canterbury  O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne Screamo, post-hardcore and southern rock from Kings Lynn. Nominated for 2010’s Kerrang! Best British Newcomer Award, Deaf Havana are one of the UK's most exciting bands, the BBC think so anyway!

Rock Sound Riot Tour 2012: Billy Talent + Awolnation  O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne from 7:00pm.
                                          Billy Talent

Tuesday 13th November

The Quireboys + The Burning Crows The Cluny & The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne
from 8:00pm One of the UK's finest Rock 'n' Roll Bands. I've enjoyed their gigs for the last 24 years. See more info at 

Heather Findlay  at The Cluny & The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne from 8:00pm Previously lead singer of Mostly Autumn, Heather is now taking her capable vocal cords on tour, and solo.See more info at 

Wednesday 14th November

Once in a Lifetime 2012: David Cassidy + Leo Sayer + Hot Chocolate + Smokie Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne from 7:30pm. This week just gets better don't it? 

Friday 16th November

Romeo's Daughter + Serpentine The Cluny & The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne from 8:00pm 
Romeo's Daughter reformed in 2009, previously releasing albums in the 80s and 90s. See more info at Check out Serpentine at 

Faderhead and Paresis at Legends, Newcastle. I'm a big Faderhead fan. Seen him in Cologne, Bradford, and Newcastle. Edgy, angry, punk electro with killer riffs. Check out the events page here.


Tuesday 6th November

One Man Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal , Newcastle upon Tyne. Featuring Rufus Hound this is the story of Francis Henshaw. Fired from his skiffle band he becomes minder to small time East End gangster, Roscoe Crabbe. Roscoe wants to reclaim £6000 from his fiancee's dad. Roscoe is very much not what he seems to be, and Francis's decision to make extra cash by working also for Stanley Stubbers...I could go into the story more, but the twists and turns are yours to discover. Watch the trailer . Described as the "Funniest show in the Western world" by the Daily Mail. Runs until 10th November. Tickets from £9.
                                         "One Man Two Guvnors" photo from Theatre Royal Website.
Wednesday 7th November

Red Raw at The Stand from 7pm. Newest material and the newest comedians, and the odd established one, trying out new stuff. Only £2!

Thursday 8th-Saturday 10th November

Dim Sum Nights at Northern Stage Fresh bite-sized pieces of theatre by talented British East Asian writers will be served up complete with delicious Dim Sum and tea. Theatre shorts, and food? I think so. I'll be there.

Friday 9th  and Saturday 10th November

Bunker Blues: Theatre Auracaria at Live Theatre Broad Chare, Newcastle. Set in a Kenton WWII bunker on 15th August, where women worked to prevent the destruction of the landscape of Newcastle and the loss of life of many northeast people,by a German bomb attack. This looks at the lives of young women in WWII in the plotting rooms of Bunker 13, the barracks and the dance halls. Book online at the Live Theatre

Sunday 11th November

Sing-A-Long-A Grease at the Theatre Royal with a screening of the classic film and onscreen lyrics, so you can come in costume, sing, dance, do the full Grease "thing".

Monday 12th - Saturday 17th November

The Late Edwina Black at the Little Theatre Gateshead. The housekeeper seems to be the only one mourning the passing of Edwina Black. She was not the nicest person to live with, belittling and bullying both her husband and her companion Elizabeth. Her natural death is questioned by Inspector Martin and soon this becomes a whodunnit with a twist at the end! Phone: 0191 478 1499

Tuesday 13th-Friday 16th Nov

Faust: Opera North at the Theatre Royal Faust is a man of middle age who has grown tired of life and yearns only for sensual pleasure and for his lost youth. He summons up Méphistophélès, who agrees to grant his desires – but at the price of his eternal soul. An innocent woman, Marguerite, falls victim to this diabolical pact when she is seduced by Faust: the result is her destruction. But whilst for Marguerite there is hope of redemption, for Faust there is none. A classic tale by Goethe made into a classic opera by Gounod.

Tuesday 13th-Saturday 17th November

Beautiful Burnout at Northern Stage Looks at the complex issues and the personal lives involved in boxing at a local level, in Glasgow. Cameron Burns is going places, he fights for his club, his future and his Mum. By Briony Lavery, this story is staged in a hard, hitting, spectacular manner with music by Underworld and realistic fight scenes. Age 14+ due to realistic language. Tickets £24, £19.50, £12.50. Post show discussion Wednesday 14th November.

The King and The Northern Stage .Crazy 2000 year old story of a king forced to carry the corpse of a hanged man on his back. Bad enough, but the corpse is possessed by a vampire who keeps tormenting the poor king with puzzles that threaten to make his brain pop! Performed by TUUP an amazing storyteller of the internationally acclaimed " Crick Crack Club". A mad collaboration with sitar virtuoso Sheema Mukherjee.

And...breathe, how much is on in Newcastle? I've not done the comedy yet! Here goes..


Thursday 8th November

The Saturday Show at The Stand, High Bridge (until Sat 10th Nov) 5 different acts each night, try the food in the upstairs bistro.Ben Norris, Chris Fobes, Chris Stokes and host Marton Mor.

Friday 9th November

The Jack Daniels Comedy Show: Vladimir McTavish, Peter Phillipson, Katerina Vrana, Adama Race at MIMO Newcastle. Also on 10th Nov.
Outstanding in his Field: Stewart Francis at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre
Michael McIntyre at the Metro Radio Arena Until 12th Nov.

Saturday 10th November

John Fothergill, Richard Morton + Support at the Grinning Idiot  at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle 7.30pm doors. £10 adv, £12 on door.

Monday 12th November

John Richardson at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre

Tuesday 13th November

Mindblender: Ross Noble until 16th Nov at Newcastle City Hall

Paul Foot: Kenny Larch is Dead at The Stand Surreal, random, sublime£12.50, or £10 for concessions and members.

Thursday 15th November

The Thursday Show at  The Stand best comperes, established headliners, and brand new acts in a 2 hour show.Often same line up at Saturday Show, but!

That's all for now!

Like the king with the corpse on his back, I'm getting close to a brain explosion. Too much, too much! So that's all for now. If you want your event on here, or on the NE1FM show, let me know on Twitter. I'm now @JoWhereToGo. I needed a "professional profile"! And you can email me at I guess my next pretentious step would be to start referring to myself as "we" as a lot of PR and plugging people do. But, no, for now, its just me, plugging away.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Theatre Review: Black T-Shirt Collection at Northern Stage

Inua Ellams wrote and single-handedly illustrated the story of the "Black T-Collection" at Northern Stage, bringing a story of poor Nigerian lads coming up with a great idea, and all the consequences of fame, loyalty, prejudice and greed. He told the story, expressing the personalities of the entire family with ease. I did hear an audience member say it was like someone reading you a book. I disagree. Inua used the stage and the sparse props to bring the story to life. Two brothers flee from Nigeria as a journalist threatens to out muslim Muhammed as gay. His adopted Christian brother Matthew, bound to him by years of loyalty and protection against bullying from other muslim kids, sticks by him as he runs to Cairo taking the T-Shirt business with them.Sound effects, music and lighting helped take us around the world, to Cairo, London and, China for the gruesome conclusion in a sweat-shop T-Shirt factory. A brief hiccup in the light and sound slightly tripped up momentum just before the conclusion, but the story still had me in tears. I'm still a little amazed at Mr Ellam's ability to keep a monologue so alive, poetic, funny and engaging for the whole production. Its funny how we felt ourselves leaning forward in our seats as if a friend were talking to us in a pub. A great story, well told and enhanced by a great acting talent.

Coming soon to Northern Stage

Radikal Words 24/10*03/11 Zena Edwards uses music and movement to tell stories and provide a backdrop for her poetry. She doesn't like to be labelled, so I won't. Just expect some great stories, and more. And David Johnson presents witty stand up and poetry on the state of our society. £7.50

Spooky Cooking! 27/10-03/11 At Mackenna's over 4 can get cooking up some scary treats in the theatre restaurant. £5 each child.

Blue Boy 24/10-03/11 Why has a hooded youth taken up residence in Reagan's office in the early hours. He claims shelter, but is revenge his aim? Tense thriller. £14.50 or £12 for concessions.

Truce 2-3/11 Whilst following the Olympic torch relay on a 1948 double decker bus (!) Northern Stage collected stories from people all over the northeast, and then young artists, dancers and performers transformed them into a look at at how we really see the world. £5

Take advantage of Northern Stage's Multibuy deal. I've got quite a few tickets meaning I've saved loads of money on nights out over the next few months! Theatre doesn't have to be expensive...but expect a great evening.

BOX OFFICE 0191 230 5151

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 much to do!

A BIG Ask!

I've set myself a couple of tasks. While working towards self employment in the world of music (I know there's a role there for me, I'm going to find it!), I want to become a source of "what's on in Newcastle" in this blog, and on the radio. Local radio is under threat (especially in the evenings) from cutbacks in the BBC, which makes stations like NE1FM all the more important in giving local information and serving the community.

The biggest difficulty, apart from overcoming my fear of chatting to 58000 people on air, is that Newcastle has too much going on! Every night there's a play, some comedy, bands playing, dance shows, often simultaneously. Keeping a 1 hour radio show nice and chatty without stuffing it full of information is going to be hard. But with the folks at NE1FM's help, I'll crack it. This blog will be a central point for information so that the show can stay light on the phone numbers and ticket information and I can talk more about the bands, the plays, and the comics. More to come on the show later...

Review: Not Until We Are Lost by Okham's Razor at Dance City

I have never experienced a production like this. The company presented simple stories of human companionship, cooperation, how love can crush you, how we can be lost and find ourselves anew. The aerial apparatus was made from scaffolding and plexiglass and the audience were brought onto the stage from the start, allowed to walk around and wonder what was going to happen as Ruth Wall played atmospheric music using her harp and a curious array of metal prongs attached to pick ups that made really cool noises! My son liked that. After a couple of pieces involving the apparatus (which were oddly moving, the actors/acrobats having amazing ability to convey emotions via their faces) the choir burst into song from WITHIN the audience creating a surround sound effect. Did I mention I was in the choir? It was a fantastic experience being trained by Anna Flannagan with other community volunteers to sing the wonderful songs composed by award winning composer Graham Fitkin. Quite a challenge for me as the music was pretty complicated at times. But the effect was amazing, there was great feedback from the audiences. I saw the grinning faces of children as the "Okhams" swung each other over their heads. I'm looking forward to Okham's Razor coming back to Dance City as they showed such imagination and vision creating this production. I was so proud to be part of it. I was sad to see them go off to Lancaster on the next leg of the tour!

What's on


17th October: 
The Unthanks at Tyneside Cinema singing "Songs From The Shipyards" with viuals from                                 Richard Fenwick £11.50 -£14.50 tel. 0845 217 9909 Wishbone Ash at the O2 Academy  Gaz Coombs  (Supergrass)   at the O2 Academy tel.    019102602020

18th October  Flux Pavilian at the O2 Academy Battle of the Bands 1/4 Final  at the 3 Tuns, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead.  Seth  Lakeman  at the O2 Academy (Folk..check out "More Than Money" on Youtube.
 Larry Miller  at the Cluny2 (Excellent blues rock Dead Birds at the Cluny (darkly beautiful music like "When the upbeat sounds from your dying heart emerge")

19th October   AlterCreed (Alterbridge and Creed covers) and Karma Heart (up and coming harmonic hard rock band) at Legends £5 in adnvance from or £7 on the door with entry included to Toxic Rock Night. Terrorvision at Northumbria University tel. 0191 2274757

20th October The Farm at the O2 Academy (playing their Spartacus album in its entirety). Little Comets (superb local band)  at the O2 Academy. Vintage Bus Trip shuttling between the Cluny and the Central Bar in Gateshead for Americana from The Mastersons, Tom Paley's Old Time Moonshine Revue and Chastity Brown see for details. Oxjam Newcastle Takeover (LOADS of local bands, DJ's comedy, childrens entertainment) in the Ouseburn Valley. See, tickets are £7. Great value and for a great cause.

21st October Don Maclean at the Sage, Gateshead (40th anniversary of American Pie tour)

22nd October Random Hand at Trillians Rock Bar (ska punk fun from Keighley!)

26th October Heaven 17 at the O2 Academy

30th October Modulate, Surgyn and Outsight at Trillians £10 tickets from local record shops, Charnel House, and

And coming up:

2nd November Adam Ant at the O2 Academy

23rd November Sonic Boom Six, Imperial Leisure and Rossi Noise all on one bill! At the O2 Academy.


17th October Red Raw at The Stand, High Bridge: Brand new comics and established pro's try out new material. £2! The or 0844693 3366

18th October Andy Zaltzman - Armchair Revolutionary. Political satire, cricket and Edith Piaf. at The Stand, High Bridge


17th October Black T Shirt Collection by Inua Ellams at Northern Stage tel.0191 230 5151

16th- 20th October The Haunting by Charles Dickens at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Westgate Road. Tel.
0844 493 999

20th October The Shortest Day, Cave and Falling Unknown ( martial arts based dance pieces) at Dance City, Temple Street. tel 0191 261 05050

24th 27th October Blue Boy at Northern Stage (tense thriller)

That's all I've got time for right now. Newcastle is buzzing you lucky peeps!Follow me on twitter! I'm @schwarzbeer.

New Release: Larkin Poe - Self Made Man

Grammy® Award-Nominated Sister Duo Announce New Album New Release : Larkin Poe - Self Made Man Tricki-Woo Records Released:...