Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tom Conti at @theatreroyalnew in Rough Justice

Tom Conti, one of the UKs most popular actors, will have North-East audiences in his grip as he takes to the stage in the courtroom thriller Rough Justice, showing at Newcastle Theatre Royal, Monday 30 September - Saturday 5 October 2013.
In Rough Justice, Tom Conti plays television journalist James Highwood, a man who has made his career out of challenging the British Justice system in his documentary programmes. Now, suddenly, he finds the system challenging him as he is brought to court on a charge of murder. Highwood admits the killing but perversely chooses to defend himself, pushing the tolerance of the court to its limits and framing his defence in terms calculated to incense the judge.
Alongside Dame Judi Dench, Tom Conti was recently voted Most Popular Actor in the West End in the last 25 years. His many memorable television roles include Lark Rise to Candleford and Miranda and his film roles include the recent Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, the unforgettable Shirley Valentine and Reuben, Reuben, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.  On stage he has won an Olivier Award in the West End and a Tony Award on Broadway for his performance in Whose Life is It Anyway?
Rough Justice is an absolute theatrical treat - a murder story, a courtroom drama and a psychological thriller which balances heartrending sadness with dark humour. Tom Conti is brilliantly suited to this gripping and thought provoking drama, which promises to keep audiences enthralled right to the end with its intricately plotted twists and turns. Tom’s performance in last year’s tour of Rough Justice was hailed as ‘electric’ (Wiltshire News) and ‘the kind of performance for which awards are rightly given’ (
Joining Tom as the Judge is Benjamin Whitrow. Benjamin is best known from his role as Mr Bennett in the classic TV series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. They will be supported by an outstanding ensemble cast: Elizabeth Payne, Carol Starks, David Michaels, Mary Lincoln, Simon Murray and Nik Drake.
This thrilling drama is written by Terence Frisby, who has worked extensively for nearly 50 years as an actor, director and producer. His most famous play, There's A Girl In My Soup, was London's longest-running comedy (1966-1972) and a worldwide smash hit that is still constantly produced across the globe today.
Rough Justice appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 30 September – Saturday 5 October 2013. Tickets are available from £15.00 and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

Monday, 26 August 2013


The North East’s premier comedy festival is back

The cream of British comedy will descend on Tyneside this October – as Jesterval Comedy Festival returns. ­­

Comprising 24 shows over five star-studded days, Jesterval 2013 will take place 3-7 October in a 350-seater marquee on Baltic Square, at the heart of the Gateshead Quays development.

Mock The Week star Ed Byrne, Terry Alderton, Marcus Brigstocke, Andrew Maxwell and Jason Cook are just some of the stand-out names in the programme, released online today.

Hebburn creator Cook will perform his brand new show, I Will Make Your Life Better, just weeks before series two returns to TV.

And the sitcom star will also take part in a Geordie comedy gala on Friday 4 October, featuring the likes of Bobby Pattinson, Seymour Mace and fellow Hebburn actor Steffen Peddie.

Cook said: “I love performing to fans in my home city.

“There is always a great atmosphere and I urge people to come down and enjoy themselves.”

Ticket prices for the festival range from £3 to £15, with a number of free performances.

However most are just £5 – with shows from Patrick Monahan, Viz co-creator Simon Donald, Barry Castagnola, Tom Binns, Luisa Omeilan, Joanne Neary, Carey Marx, Lost Voice Guy and Gordon Southern to name just a few.

For those who like their comedy totally unscripted, there’s the Improv Comedy All Stars show, featuring Marcus Brigstocke, Dave Johns, Steve Frost, Steve Steen, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Rivals, Die Die Die and Cauls at @brewdognewc

Rocking The 'Dog Good and Proper

Brewdog pub, down at the bottom of Dean Street was pleasantly populated with enthusiastic punters, lubricated with nice beer.This was a free gig, sponsored by NARC, but even a free gig can be hard to fill of a Thursday night when the students are away and people are on their holidays. So it was great to see a healthy sized crowd.

Cauls took to the "stage" a corner at the front of the pub and it was quickly apparent that photography wasn't going to be easy, low light and standing either behind a lot of big blokes or crouching in front of them. But we got by, we are professionals.

Cauls created varying rock soundscapes, with slightly awkward lack of spacing between songs, maybe they were rushed. I felt we would enjoy the sound more if there were more engagement with the audience. I'm funny like that, I like a bit of interaction with my music, maybe I'm a bit greedy. The music was complex and had a depth that I could appreciate although whether this is something I could play in my car on a long journey, I'm not sure. I don't want to sound like your mum, but you've got a lovely face young fella, lets see it, stop looking at those shoes.

Die Die Die! from New Zealand, brought the room to life and vocalist Andrew Wilson clearly felt that the little corner of the room was insufficient space for him to express himself. He took many trips out into the audience and entertained them with creative uses of the mic stand to play the guitar and climbed on furniture to get a better rock and roll position over the crowd at one point. The music was infectious rock punk. I found it foot-tapping and head-nodding material.

Rivals have a professional air that raises them to a level higher than a lot of local bands. They have a sound I associate both with The Clash and with Therapy?. A small number of loyal fans lined the front of the stage area and, as the gig progressed people lined the balcony area clearly enjoying the spectacle and the music. Whilst Rivals are fairly loud and fond of distortion, they have a great ear for a tune. They are definitely a band to look out for. A band ready for a good label and a much bigger stage.



Words and pictures © Joanne Oliver and Jowheretogo PR

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ian Anderson on Tour! and at @sage_gateshead in May 2014

Ian Anderson announces 2014 tour

& is to be Honoured at the

Progressive Music Awards 2013

Legendary Prog Rock icon Ian Anderson has announced a 2014 UK tour, following the release of his new concept album to be recorded early next year and released around Easter.


Anderson will also be recognised as one of the foremost influencers of rock at this years Progressive Music Awards, by being honoured with the Prog God Award.


Anderson will be touring throughout 2014, starting in the UK late April; the show will feature a selection from his new 2014-release concept album - which he defines as ‘Folk-Prog-Metal’ - in its more theatrical setting, together with a selection of Jethro Tull highlights. The upcoming record release will feature heavier, less acoustic guitar sounds and more of Anderson’s trademark flute.


He says “After winning the Grammy for best “Hard Rock/Metal” album back in 1988, this seems like an opportunity to justify that strange and misplaced accolade with a new album to celebrate the more forceful, full-on rock credentials which are found in many of my songs over the last 45 years. It's not an end to the acoustic and gentler moments but more of an emphasis on the louder aggressive flute style which marked me out from the earliest days of Jethro Tull.”


The Prog God Award celebrates the innovators of rock. The people who have inspired generations and have carved a way for others to be at their creative best. There is no one who has pushed the boundaries more than Ian Anderson, who to this day remains immersed in his love for the music.


On winning the award, Anderson continued, The innocent voyage of restless souls: that's prog rock. Sometimes bombastic, self-indulgent and worse, it is also an honest, gut-felt reaction to the often simplistic and repetitive nature of much of pop and rock. 


It is, indeed, an honour to receive this illustrious Prog award and dwell in such lofty heights amongst the good and the great of the last forty-plus years. I remain very happy to inhabit the progressive rock world, as both performer and listener. 


And where else could a self-taught, mediocre but extremely loud flute player make a decent living? Not in country and western, I would suppose. But, hey: if the boots fit and the buckskin-fringed coyote crooner calls, then count me in Cowboy! Brokeback Mountain could never sound sweeter.”


Jerry Ewing, Editor of Prog Magazine says, “For 45 years Ian has been playing live, and I don’t think I have ever seen two shows the same! It doesn’t matter if its Jethro Tull or Ian on his own – its always magnificent, groundbreaking and captivating. Without him rock would be a very different and lesser place, so to announce him as our Prog God at the same time as he announces a UK tour seems hugely fitting.”


Following the great success of his current ‘Thick As A Brick’ tour – including a one-off performance at the iconic Royal Albert Hall – tickets for the 2014 shows are expected to go fast when they go on sale on 4th September.


Tickets go on sale on 4th September at 9.00am online booking: or from  Tickets are subject to booking fee.  Ian Anderson will be onstage at 7.30pm on May 16th at the Sage, Gateshead.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Moo-Man comes to Tyneside Cinema

An extra-ordinary tale of British independent moo-vie making
(or how one farmer and his cows went to Sundance!)

A special screening of the most talked about British documentary of the year with Scottish filmmaker Andy Heathcote at


The filmmaker who led a cast of dairy cows to surprise stardom comes to Newcastle this week with a special showing of hit indie documentary The Moo Man (97 mins, U).

Described as the “number one movie of the Sundance 2013 Film Festival” The Moo Man follows a year in the life of farmer Steve Hook and his unruly 55-strong herd as they battle to keep their family farm afloat.

Director and cameraman Andy Heathcote took four years to make the movie, most of them spent flat on his stomach in a damp field, trying to keep the shot steady while half a tonne of dairy cow nibbled at his sleeve. 

Andy will be at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle on Thursday August 22 to lead a question and answer session with the audience on the most challenging film of his career. There will also be an earlier showing on Wednesday August 21.

Undisputed star is leading lady Ida, a shapely Friesian Holstein with a natural talent for showmanship and Steve’s secret weapon as he pulls out all the marketing stops when he breaks from the big dairies to go it alone.

We accompany Steve through night-time calvings and punishingly early dawn milkings, as all the while he builds a doorstep delivery service for the herd’s organic pintas. It’s a job he undertakes with passion and great dollops of humour but one he knows is impossible without the co-operation of his cows. A farmer all his life, he’s still they’re number one fan.

“The film started out being about one farmer bucking the trend by not going down the big numbers route. In the end, though, what came across most strongly were the cows’ characters. They’re just beautiful animals,” says Steve.

A heart-warming and often hilarious tale set on the stunning Pevensey Levels in East Sussex, The Moo Man takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that brings you face to face with the reality of farming in an era driven by supermarket economics.

In a charming, understated way Andy’s film challenges our relationship with food, the environment and the person we rely upon for both – the farmer.

This is what people have been saying about it:

“As an advert for steering clear of supermarket milk, this is hard to beat...
A low-key pleasure.”

The Guardian

“The charming documentary The Moo Man captures an England lost long ago, a green and pleasant time when farmers actually knew their animals’ names.”
The Times

 The Moo Man is a very old-fashioned documentary, a gentle, bucolic account of a man at peace with himself and his environment.”
Daily Mail

You can watch The Moo Man trailer at 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

50 Shades spoof at the Theatre Royal Newcastle


Following sell-out shows in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin earlier this year, the smash hit comedy, Fifty-One Shades of Maggie, is set to embark on its first UK tour, visiting Newcastle Theatre Royal on 10 – 14 September. Starring former Emmerdale star Adele Silva, the Fifty Shades of Grey send up is fixed to become one of the funniest shows to hit UK stages!

Fifty-One Shades of Maggie tells the story of the loveable Maggie Muff and her search for love. A working-class girl, Maggie – like most women – has been let down by all the men in her life. As she attends an interview at the Social Security Office, Maggie meets the handsome and hunky Mr. Big, who could just be the man of her dreams.

 “Hilarious… do yourself a favour, get a ticket… the joy is in the outrageous script…”

Irish News

“…made us laugh ‘til we cried… two hours flashed past amid great hilarity…”

Belfast Telegraph

Fifty-One Shades of Maggie was initially written by Leesa Harker as a Facebook-based spoof blog of the all-time best-selling book, Fifty Shades of Grey. The blog was so well received that it went viral, reaching tens of thousands of followers in a matter of days. Later adapted for stage, the play debuted to a sold-out audience in Belfast in January 2013.

The one woman show stars Adele Silva, best known for her long running role as Kelly Windsor in Emmerdale – a role she played on and off for 14 years. Adele is a well-known face on British television, appearing in Mr Majeika, The Bill and EastEnders, alongside a host of celebrity reality shows including series three of Celebrity Hell’s Kitchen in which she came second to boxer, Barry McGuigan.


“…a lot of fun… hilarious… left the audience pumped up and proud…”

Culture Northern Ireland

This hilarious new play, filled with naughty bits, will have ladies giggling for weeks as they join Maggie and her friends on this (ever-so-slightly-filthy) journey of love, booze and whips!

Fifty-One Shades of Maggie appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from 10 - 14 September 2013 (Evenings: Tue – Thu 7.30pm, Friday 8.30pm and Saturday 8pm). Tickets are from £15.00 and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

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