Saturday, 26 October 2013

If you go down to the woods today… 
Northern Stage presents 
Tallest Tales from the Furthest Forest, 
16 Nov – 4 Jan 

From the team who created The Little Detective Agency and the Case of the Festive Thief, Shhh… A Christmas Story and more comes Tallest Tales from the Furthest Forest – Northern Stage’s Christmas show especially for under 6s and their families.  
Puppets, live music, audience interaction and a wonderfully inventive set all help to bring the story alive, but at the heart of it all is the love of a good yarn.   
Tallest Tales is the story of a little girl who gets lost in a magical forest. She meets 'Leshies' (an old Slavic term for wood spirits) who involve her in their weird and wonderful tales to help her find her way. Northern Stage has a reputation for offering audiences original family entertainment at Christmas - a refreshing alternative to panto - and Susan describes the show this year as “exciting, funny and just a little bit scary”.  
Writer Susan Mullholland has researched traditional Russian and European fairy tales that have been passed down through generations and across cultures. She talked to Professor Kim Reynolds at Newcastle University who specialises in children's literature, and discovered that some of the best loved fairy tales – for example Little Red Riding Hood - are actually rooted in reality, despite seeming fantastical.   
Working with Susan are long-time collaborators Mark Calvert – Creative Associate at Northern Stage - who’s directing the show, designer Andy Stephenson and musician/composer Katie Doherty.  
The cast are no strangers to Northern Stage either. Tom Walton was in The Borrowers at Northern Stage last Christmas, directed by Erica Whyman OBE - currently shortlisted for best children's show in the national UK Theatre Awards (the winner will be announced on 20 October).  
Ruth Johnson, who plays the little girl, has starred in two hit Christmas shows at Northern Stage - The Prince and the Penguin and Shhh...A Christmas Story (also both written by Susan Mulholland and directed by Mark Calvert). 
Alice Blundell and Michael Blair were both part of last year's NORTH cohort – the annual company set up by Northern Stage to support and develop talented young theatre makers in the region. NORTH toured their first show The Man Who Thought the Moon Would Fall Out of the Sky over the summer including the Edinburgh Fringe and Latitude Festival.  
Award-winning North East musician Katie Doherty is composing original music for the show with songs for the audience to join in with. This year, some of it will be played live by the actors on stage - Michael plays guitar, Alice plays the fiddle and Tom plays a guitalele - a cross between a guitar and a ukulele. 
Tallest Tales from the Furthest Forest opens at Northern Stage on 16 November and runs until 4 January 2014.

Good Looking Boy at Arts Centre Washington

Box Clever Theatre take their hit Edinburgh show ‘Time for the Good Looking Boy’ to Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 28 November.

This hard-hitting play for young adults tracks the challenges of youth in the face of adulthood.

Following The Boy as he talks about his memories and emotions, this compelling, witty and intimate play explores the harsh realities of growing up, independence and the consequences of a night when your life changes forever.

An urban ghost story, The Boy tells his tale of love and loss in rhyming couplets with an original and haunting soundtrack.

This is an account of an extraordinary night in the life of an ordinary young man and a journey which will change his life forever. Wherever that journey takes him, we are asked to be part of it, to share it with the living and the dead. 

Using the rhythms and gestures of rap, often backed by composer Jon Nicholls's score, he tells us about the love between him and this girl who thought him 'not bad-looking,' of her concern about what will happen when she goes off to university. He talks about the way his father left him and his mother when he was a little boy. He describes his hurt refusal to respond to a dad he really loved when he came home to patch things up, realising only much later that his Jamaican mother would have taken her husband back if it had not been for his behaviour.

The script, and director Iqbal Khan’s production, gives the piece a variety of pace to match the way the boy moves from one aspect of life to another, through memories and emotions that will be shared by all. When romantic idyll turns into tragedy the audience finds it knows more than he does to give the plot added poignancy.

An original play for young people it was written by Michael Wicherek, directed by Iqbal Khan (BROKENGLASS STARRING ANTHONY SHER, WEST END), starring Lloyd Thomas (BBC RADIO, SEVEN DAYS OF SUMMER), and presented by Box Clever (DIRTY KISSING, SIXTEEN UP).

Time for the Good Looking Boy comes to Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 28 November, 7.30pm.  Tickets are £8.50 / £6 (conc) and are available from or by calling 0191 219 3455. 

Character comic Rob Gilroy will appear at Giggle Beats’ next comedy quiz night on Monday 4 November.
Gilroy, described by Chris Addison as “one of the best new comedy writing talents around”, will perform a short set at The Hancock pub in Newcastle to round off the quiz that puts your comedy knowledge to the test.
He will appear as protest singer and freelance activist Jerry Bucham – complete with a back catalogue of god-awful songs.
He said: “"I am delighted to be taking part in the next Giggle Beats' comedy quiz.
“As a weekly columnist for GB this is finally my chance to step out from behind the desk and impress them live and in person. Like Jan Moir opening a Tesco Express."
Gilroy has been performing as Jerry Bucham since 2011.
Now based in Yorkshire, he originally started performing in Newcastle and established himself as a popular act on the North East circuit.
In 2011, Rob was accepted onto the BBC scheme Jesting About where he worked with other comics, such as Ross Noble and Bob Mortimer, to write and perform sketches for a radio show broadcast on BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees.
Since then, he has gone on to write for numerous shows including BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show and The News Quiz, Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack and The Headset Set and Dave Gorman’s Pub Olympics for BBC Radio 2.
Earlier this year, Rob formed the sketch group Jolly Mixtures, who have had a quick rise to prominence in the north, making the finals of the Hull Comedian of the Year.

He is currently going commando.

The Giggle Beats Comedy Quiz, hosted by comedian Seymour Mace (Ideal, Dave’s One Night Stand), takes place on the first Monday of the month.  
Prizes include a £25 bar tab for The Hancock, tickets to see the top comedy tour shows on Tyneside, comedy merchandise and more.
Entry is £2.

Doors open at 7.30pm, and the quiz starts at 8pm

Friday, 25 October 2013

Peculiar Disco Moves return: New Single "Joining Fee"

Newcastle Band speaking out for those of us who don't get paid £1000's an hour!

Peculiar Disco Moves "Joining Fee" Launch Gigs

Peculiar Disco Moves are back with new single Joining Fee, their take on the ridiculous sums of money involved in the top echelons of the football world!
The single will be supported by an intimate launch show at the Newcastle Institute for Mining on Friday 22nd November, as well as from HMV Newcastle with an exclusive in-store performance of the single. Joining Fee will be available to download from the Peculiar Disco Moves’ Bandcamp page and as a limited edition CD.

Joining Fee examines and compares the life of footballers and their agents with the everyday working man, challenging the disparity between them, as well as other sportsman and athletes who struggle to finance their careers. It seems that the difficulty experienced in modern society is not reflected and in proportion with the astronomical amounts of money accumulated by a small, select group of individuals, who are only required to ‘sign on the dotted line’ in order to assure their extreme wealth and status.

  • Peculiar Disco Moves followed up their 2011 debut-EP with 3-track extravaganza The Domino Effect, released April 2013. 
  • The EP had support from BBC’s Tom Robinson, with ‘Automatic Choice’ featured on the Listening Post section of the Fresh On The Net blog, as well as being selected for airplay on BBC6Music’s BBC Introducing Mixtape show. 
  • Lead track ‘Chris’ has also featured on BBC Introducing on BBC Newcastle, and the band performed a number of live radio sessions, including for Amazing Radio’s Colin and Matt Show. The band’s 2011 debut EP included radio coverage from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio and Metro Radio’s Nightowls, as well as reviews and features in The Crack magazine, the Journal’s Culture Magazine and Generator’s Tipping Point blog. 
  • They also recorded a song and video (‘Wembley Way’) to celebrate frontman Alix’s football team Bradford City reaching the 2013 Carling Cup Final, scoring a You Tube hit with 8,000+ views, culminating in Alix giving an interview and performance of the song on BBC Leeds the day before the match.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Review: The Ugly Sisters at Northern Stage

The Ugly Sisters  Northern Stage 22nd October 2013-10-22

Cinderella was the poor down trodden girl who was bullied by her evil ugly sisters. Or was she? Have they been misrepresented? It’s time to settle that score!

Rash Dash are the hugely engaging Abi Greenland and Helen Gaolen and they start the show as the poor ugly sisters who have been in rehab. Quickly the story moves back to the blissful experience of life as 8 year old non-identical twins living in a squat. Marking their territory and letting people take shelter from the rain in a car that no longer works for 50p. Their Mum, Ruby, meets a man and they all move in with him and his daughter, Arabella. In their quest to marry the prince they go on TV and things start to go very wrong.

This musical is driven by three members of Not Bernard Now who not only have to swap instruments but they have to make cameo appearances as Ruby, the Prince and Cinders herself. The pumping music oscillates between jazz and punk but always with attitude.  The songs add the narrative to the performance whilst Abi and Helen strut, dance and pout around the stage. Their energy is infectious and the songs amusing. By the end one can only feel empathy for the siblings who have clearly had bad press from the pro-Cinderella factions. The sinister cabaret has succeeded.

Ugly Sisters finishes in Newcastle’s Northern Stage on the 23rd October at 8pm before moving to Ipswich on the 10th November.
Recommended Age: 14+
Running time: 1 hour
Newcastle Tickets: £14.50 / £12 concessions – cheaper still when bought as part of a multibuy deal
Ipswich Tickets: £15, £10, £8.50

Words: Stephen Oliver

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Review: Toyah “Love is the Law Tour”
first date Newcastle Legends 18/10/2013

Toyah was supported by Alexa de Strange, a dramatic old-school rock band. Their style was indicated by the name of their new album Tits of Death which was performed with great passion by the 4 piece from Yorkshire. Alexa certainly has an impressive set of lungs on her, belting out those songs like a the pro she is.

Toyah is on tour to reanimate the 1983 album Love is The Law, and this she did. She expressed in her interview with me on NE1fm this week, her love for the album, and the fact it represents one of the best years of her life. She said this again tonight.




Toyah is a natural performer. Decades of acting, performing music, voiceover work, interviews and taking whatever the showbiz world threw at her has given her an amazing ability to present these songs in the way only she could. Her voice has, if anything, become stronger, more resonant and quite beautiful. She looks utterly at home still being the Toyah we remember. She had a great band and she had us all dancing to It’s a Mystery, Thunder in the Mountains, I Want to Be Free and gripped by her performance of those songs which some of us were less familiar with such as Neon Womb and The Vow. A fabulous adrenaline-charged gig from an artist with a whole lot more left in the tank. Another great gig from RFTK Promotions.



My interview with Toyah on NE1fm is on Mixcloud 

All photos by Jo Oliver for Jowheretogo

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Its fun all the way as the "Purveyors of Cool" swing into SUNDERLAND – Empire Theatre on Thursday 31st October (doing both a matinee & evening performance) with a sensational show featuring the greatest music of the 20th century.
Wonderful memories of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Junior in a fabulous production that continues to be successful all over the world.
The great news is - it's all totally live and every song is an absolute classic - Come Fly With Me, Under My Skin, Mr Bojangles, Lady Is A Tramp, That's Amore, Mack The Knife plus many more of your favourites.
With an abundance of class & style they take you on a trip back in time to vintage Las Vegas; hip, cool and a with their timeless soiree that still remains the hottest party around.
The BBC summed up this show in just one word - MAGNIFICENT!

Tickets are available from:
SUNDERLAND – Empire Theatre, High Street West, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear  SR1 3EX
Box Office No: 0844 871 3022

Don't be late the fun starts at 3.00pm for the matinee performance and 7.30pm for the evening show.

To see, hear and get more information about the Rat Pack, visit their website at

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Review: Particle Velocity at Northern Stage

Particle Velocity
Northern Stage 10th October 2013.
A Phoenix Dance Theatre Production

Particle Velocity is a production of four energetic dance pieces that weave music and dance together with a sense of purpose.
The show opens with ‘All Alight’ in which 7 dancers move with subtle grace and poise to the often energetic strains of Ravel’s ‘Sonata for Violin and Cello’. Richard Alston’s choreography is the first indication that the Phoenix Dance Theatre intend to use the full extent of the wide stage that Stage 1 at this venue offers.
Jose Agudo’s ‘Ki’ starts in one corner and as the score by Vinz starts to pulsate the action increasing spreads across the stage.  This is a tale of a boy that will become legend. Even from the beginning when we only see the back of the dancer the raw physical nature of the piece is broadcast to the audience.
An eclectic musical compilation follows the turbulent relationship in Douglas Thorpe’s ‘Tender Crzy Love’.  The couple grind out a frantic love affair to musical gems such as Dick Dale and his Del-Tones ‘Miserlou’ and Nancy Sinatra’s classic ‘Bang Bang (He Shot Me Down)’. The nature of close yet antagonistic relationships are helped by the clever lighting design by Andy Waddington.

The show closes with the Phoenix Artistic Director Sharon Watson’s own ‘Repetition of Change’. In an intriguing insight into the double helix world of DNA we have the company performing the complex structures. The 9 dancers are utilised to move elegantly to the specially composed music by Kenneth Hesketh. The theory of base pairs is brought to life in a fabulous conclusion to the evening.

The show closes at Newcastle Northern Stage on Friday 11th October. The tour then moves to Hull:

Tuesday 15th October

Hull New Theatre
Tickets: £15, Concessions £12, Students £7.50
Box office: 01482 300 300

Thursday 17th October

The Atkinson, Southport
Tickets: £10 / £8 concessions / £6 schools
Box office: 01704 533 333

Wednesday 6th November - Thursday 7th November

York Theatre Royal
Tickets: £10 - £18, £8 students & u25s, concessions available
Box office: 01904 623568

Saturday 9th November

Clwyd Theatr Cymru
Box office: 0845 330 3565

Tuesday 19th November - Saturday 23rd November

Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House

Box office: 020 7304 4000

Thursday 28th November

Curve Theatre, Leicester
Tickets: £15. £10 concessions
Box office: 0116 242 3595

Words: Steve Oliver

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

THE SOUTH announce an Autumn / Winter 2013 – Sweet Refrains Tour!

The South make a welcome return to UK venues when they return with a ‘Sweet Refrains – Autumn / Winter 2013 UK Tour’.

Ex members of The Beautiful South, Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler will be singing many of those hits including A Little Time, Don't Marry Her, Rotterdam, Good as Gold, Perfect 10 and many more from the back catalogue.

This 9 piece band will also be performing several songs from their wonderfully received debut album as The South, Sweet Refrains (available now on iTunes).
Photo by Amy Brammall

History - from The Housemartins to The Beautiful South to The South

Formed in 1988, The Beautiful South had a string of hit singles such as Old Red Eyes Is Back, Rotterdam, Don't Marry Her, Perfect 10 and Number One single A Little Time. Their greatest hits album, Carry On Up The Charts, was one of the fastest-selling albums in UK history, entering at Number One and staying there for weeks, becoming one of the country's most popular albums ever. After 20 years, ten studio albums, five greatest hits compilations, thirty-four chart singles, 15 million record sales worldwide and performing in front of millions of fans, when time was called on The Beautiful South in 2008, not everyone was ready to leave the party.

Dave Hemingway and Ali Wheeler, two of the three lead singers with the band, were having too much fun to get out the pipe and slippers, and so The South was formed. Joining the duo were fellow mainstays from the original touring band: keyboard wizard Damon Butcher and the potent horn section of Gaz Birtles and Tony Robinson that brought so much to the live shows. Armed with a sensational back catalogue of hits such as ‘Song For Whoever’, ‘Perfect Ten’, ‘Rotterdam’, ‘Don't Marry Her’, ‘You Keep It All In’, ‘Old Red Eyes Is Back’ and many others, there is a long way to go on this particular road.

This band has history and pedigree. Dave Hemingway’s musical career stretches back into the Eighties. He became a founder member of The Beautiful South after the demise of The Housemartins, who had enjoyed a sustained purple patch and many hits before calling it a day in 1988. Whilst bassist Norman Cook went on to become superstar DJ Fat Boy Slim, Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway proceeded to form the new band in December 1988. Right from the off, The Beautiful South seemed to defy the normal logic associated with pop bands, not least for the fact that they stayed together for 20 years.

Over the life of the band, they produced many self-penned hits and had several number one albums – they scored their only number one single with the Dave Hemingway / Briana Corrigan duet ‘A Little Time’. A globally successful band, members of The South have performed these songs in front of hordes of fans from Hull to Houston. They love the material and know what will keep the fans happy.

Still as Beautiful as they ever were, The South continue the legacy with their own vibrantly singable and acerbically witty pop. As their critically acclaimed debut album Sweet Refrains, currently available on Zoo Records, confirms.

2013 will see them touring this new collection of songs alongside established favourites from their previous incarnation. The South are rightly extremely proud of their history - and their future looks very bright..

Tickets for THE SOUTH – ‘Sweet Refrains’ forthcoming Autumn / Winter 2013 UK Tour (see tour dates below) are available from the following box office no’s / websites:

Mon 30 Sep 2013

Tues 01 Oct 2013
01902 401211

Wed 02 Oct 2013
01908 280800

Fri 04 Oct 2013

Box Office No’s - 01822 611166 and 0844 478 0898

Sat 05 Oct 2013

Box Office No’s: 01722 434434 and 0844 478 0898Websites - and

Thurs 10 Oct 2013
BINGLEY - Arts Centre
Box Office No: 01274 567983 and 0844 478 0898

Fri 11 Oct 2013
CARDIFF - The Globe

Sat 19 Oct 2013
Think Tank

Thur 21 Nov 2013
GALASHIELS - Volunteer Hall
Fri 22 Nov 2013

0844 477 2000

Sat 23 Nov 2013
INVERNESS - Ironworks

Sun 24 Nov 2013
ABERDEEN - Lemon Tree

0844 478 0898

Sat 7 Dec 2013
LEICESTER - O2 Academy Leicester
Fri 13 Dec 2013

0844 478 0898

Sat 14 Dec 2013
HOLMFIRTH – Picture Dome

0844 478 0898

You can also join them on facebook -

To see, hear and get more information about The South, please visit their website at

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