Monday, 30 December 2013

Record-breaking ticket sales for Jack at @theatreroyalnew


Figures released today reveal that Jack and the Beanstalk, the Theatre Royal’s 2013/14 pantomime, has broken all previous records to become the most successful pantomime in the Theatre’s 176 year history.  What’s more, over 36,000 tickets have already been sold for next year’s show Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which will mark Clive Webb and Danny Adams’ tenth anniversary at the theatre.

Jack and the Beanstalk went on sale in November 2012 to meet high demand, and got off to an auspicious start when it opened on 26 November 2013 with sales in excess of £1million. Now, over 90,000 tickets have been sold with three weeks of the run still to go until the final performance on Saturday 18 January. Last year’s show Aladdin was the Theatre’s most popular show EVER, and Jack and the Beanstalk has now beat it by some margin.

The Theatre Royal pantomime starts earlier than any other in the region, runs for the longest and year after year continues to be the fastest selling pantomime in the whole country!  They are also among the few pantomimes in the UK which don’t usually feature a TV or celebrity name, and owe their enduring popularity instead to the massive talent of father and son comedy duo Clive Webb and Danny Adams, opulently dressed dame Chris Hayward and visionary producer Michael Harrison.

Michael is one of the world’s leading lights in pantomime, and has pulled out all the stops in terms of lavish design and production values for Jack and the Beanstalk. The show features the latest animatronic technology, pyrotechnics, a 3D adventure and can’t-believe-your-eyes onstage magic.  Multi award-winning pantomime legends Danny Adams and Clive Webb are back once again by overwhelming popular demand with more of their hilarious comedy antics – playing Jack Trot and Farmer Trot respectively, and supported as always by the country’s best dressed Dame, Chris Hayward, in his 29th panto appearance, this time as Dame Rita Trot

Tickets for next year’s panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs went on sale the day that Jack and the Beanstalk opened, the 26th November, and already over a quarter of all available seats have gone.

Philip Bernays, Chief Executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, said: “We are very pleased with how well both Jack and The Beanstalk and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are doing. Jack and the Beanstalk is without a doubt our most successful panto to date, and to smash all previous records really is outstanding.  We are incredibly proud of our pantomimes and want to thank all the thousands of people that come to see them at the Theatre Royal. With Clive, Danny, Chris and Michael we have a magic formula in place and yet again they have created for Newcastle the best panto in the country – 90,000 people can’t be wrong!”

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 18 January 2014, tickets are priced at £11 - £31 (booking fees will apply).  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs Tue 25 Nov 2014 until Sat 17 January 2015.  Tickets for both shows can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek @NorthernStage

Trio Bring Sexy Back to Comedy!

Well, that may not be the intention, but 3 guys dancing around clad only in Y fronts is not only funny but also oddly appealing to a middle aged heterosexual woman. A great start to a show that showcased many of the characters featured on the BBC2 series. This was also, apparently the boys' last ever show as GGG.

Graham Rooney, Paul Charlton and Kevin O' Loughlin all have  respectable pedigree in TV comedy and drama and a talented team behind them to create a very funny and engaging live show. If you haven't seen the TV show, it's a collection of sketches exploring the "what ifs" in life. For example, what if the CEO of a company was a big tortoise and the fire alarm went off mid meeting? What if  football refs, instead of giving out red and yellow cards for misdemeanors, put player over their knees for a short sharp spank? Such important possibilities are explored and expressed by the three very expressive comic actors, and my, can they dance! 

In my view a lots of these sketches worked so much better in the live format. The interaction with the audience,  a couple light and sound mis-timings, the dynamics between the three made the show so much funnier, in my view, than the TV show. I think the BBC should commission a second series to allow it to develop as I think it suffered from the first series awkwardness that certainly wasn't an issue on stage. The show was non-stop from start to finish and the audience loved it. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The @suggestibles Infamous Christmas Pantso at @Northernstage

The Suggestibles
Christmas Pantso
Northern Stage 12/12/13

A panto, with a charming prince, a king, a helpful character that narrates the story, woodland animals, ugly sisters and an oppressed beautiful girl looking for love. Add to this a troupe of improvisational comics and an audience all too willing to provide material to make the story much less traditional, and you’re in for a good night out. The prince and the lonely girl had hands for feet, for example, the woodland creatures had varying levels of Tourette’s and the story took place in the magical land of Gonnoria .
The thing about these productions is that the story, whilst having the familiar framework, is never going to be the same twice. The songs are made up on the spot, and range from the daft to the ridiculous. The sudden pressure to create a song from a silly situation caused many a funny moment. The ability of these actors to think on their feet (or imaginary second set of hands) is remarkable, as is the magic that comes from an audience with a little alcohol inside them, a twisted imagination, and a lot of Christmas cheer.
The actors, Steve Steen, Andy Smart, Bev Fox, Ian McLoughlin, Karl Kennedy, Alex Ross, Jayne Humphries and Micky Cochrane made full use of the magnificent set built for Dark Woods Deep Snow. The ramp previously trampled by a witch and a comical piggy is now stomped upon by an evil sidekick who was damaged in childhood because he never got a go on the swings, and so turned to the dark side.
The actors received rapturous applause and a curtain call even though the house lights were up, and left us wanting more..poor souls must have been shattered!
I recommend this as a Christmas night out as the unpredictability and sheer silliness, as well as the regular audience participation, is exactly how panto should be. For adults as well as children…but don’t bring the kids to this one!

Alex Dobson - Kites [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Preview: A Dog's Heart @ArtCtrWton #theatre #comedy #freakish

Perfect Fools present
A Dog’s Heart
Arts Centre Washington
Thursday 6th February at 7.30pm

Perfect Fools are about to be let off the leash as they embark on a tour of the North East with their latest production A Dog’s Heart. The show is an adaptation of the classic Russian novel by Mikhail Bulgakov and is a visually inventive retelling of the story of Sharik, a lone stray on the streets of Moscow.

A Dog’s Heart visits Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 6th February, the first date of a 5 venue tour across the North East taking in Hexham, Barnard Castle, Seaton Delaval and Alnwick along the way.

Described by the Northern Echo as ‘Genius! Barking mad and doggedly funny’, A Dog’s Heart tells the story of Professor Preobrazhensky, a world-famous cosmetic surgeon who makes his fortune rejuvenating Moscow’s aging elite. When he meets Sharik, a starving stray dog, he finds the raw material he needs for his greatest experiment yet.

With shades of Frankenstein, Faustus and Dr Moreau, A Dog’s Heart is a freakish tale with a bitingly satirical slant and, although set in the Soviet Union in the 1920’s, the show has many modern day reference points and throws the spotlight on our penchant for plastic surgery, our growing influence on genetics and our hell bent desire to halt the aging process.

The production introduces theatre-going audiences to new dogs on the block; Newcastle based theatre company Perfect Fools, a company with extensive experience in clowning and improvisation. The company have trained with some of the best names in the business including Jacques Le Coq, Philippe Gaulier and the late great Ken Campbell.

Combining comedy, clowning, and a cleverly written script this production won an Outstanding Performance Award at this year’s Prague Fringe Festival and is a quirky, fast paced piece of theatre that has been completely self-funded by the company themselves.

A Dog’s Heart is Perfect Fools first full length touring production and Co-Artistic Director Mark Labrow said ‘We’re hoping that with this production our reputation for making, stylish, inventive theatre and for telling stories in a playful yet meaningful way will cemented and we’ll quickly become top dog’s in the region for our unique brand of theatre.’

Get along to the Arts Centre Washington for what proves to be a theatrical treat, you’d be barking mad to miss it.

Wonderful. Theatre with a capital T.”
Radio 4’s Kate Fox

A Dog’s Heart comes to Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 6 February, 7.30pm.  Tickets are £8.50 / £6 (conc) and are available from or by calling 0191 219 3455.

Perfect Fools are actor and mime Gordon Duffy-McGhie, director and dramaturge Rob Bullard and producer and director Mark Labrow. This creative team have recently joined forces as a production company to develop and showcase their own madcap productions and to support the work of other talented theatre makers in the North.

Artistically Perfect Fools create visually inventive, irreverent and comically clown like productions that engage the audience through wonderful writing and stunning storytelling techniques. Heavily influenced by the clown, the fool, improvisation and play, Perfect Fools take universal stories and brings them to life in a fantastical and fun way.

For more information visit

Pam Vardy makes lovely art in Northumberland and is having a Christmas open day!

Artist Pam Vardy cordially invites you and your guests to her Christmas 2013 Open Days

Sunday -  15th  December - 12 – 4 p.m.
(above dates don’t suit? please contact us for an alternative viewing)

“Simonside Snowflakes”
Mulled wine, mince pies, log fire in the atmospheric setting of a medieval  pele tower

Pam’s paintings, prints and cards, art & painting workshop gift vouchers.
The Old Vicarage (Pele House), Middle Rd., Shilbottle, Nr. Alnwick,, NE66 2XS
(located between St. James Church and Village Farm fitness centre)

Tel. 01665 575017          email:

Donation from sales to the National Society for Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Review: @ChantelMcGregor at @thecluny on 06/12/2013

Lady Strings The Blues

It seems criminal to me that Chantel McGregor hasn't been snapped up by a major label yet, or her single "Fabulous" been all over our radios at any stage. Is it because she is female, that her breathtaking skills on the guitar are overlooked by the mainstream? Probably, is the answer. Chantel has been playing guitar since childhood, when she realised Dad would be easily impressed by little Chantel boshing out some chords on his guitar. She didn't stop there though and developed her skills, passing a Rockschool grade at only 8 years old. She was advised by an A&R that her voice was great but playing guitar like that might intimidate boys. Chantel went on to do outstanding well at Leeds College of Music (via nearly going into teacher training) and has been recognised at the British Blues Awards, winning Best Newcomer in 2011, Best Female Vocalist in 2012 and 2013 and Best Guitarist in 2013.

Cluny 2 had a healthy sized crowd with the balcony in use. I suspect Chantel could have filled Cluny 1 and that may be the plan for the next visit to Newcastle. Chantel filled the room with amazing guitar sounds as she went through songs on her Like No Other album including Daydream which gets increasingly crazy and epic as it progresses in the live performance. Cover versions included Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory, and Stevie Nicks's Rhiannon sung with emotion and feeling, and accompanied by Chantel's beautiful acoustic guitar playing. Also given the acoustic treatment was Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, gorgeous. Anyone who has seen Chantel knows she doesVoodoo Chile justice with a enviable amount of musical flair.

The band, consisting of Richard Richie on bass and Keith McPartling on drums, were a solid duo, reacting to Chantel's musical twists and turns with a natural ease. Richard doesn't settle with "dum dee dum" on the bass but dances around that fretboard providing everything from blues to funk basslines and Keith is an amazing drummer. The audience loved the band and Chantel as always, filled the gaps between songs with her Yorkshire wit.

You will get a chance to see Chantel again at the Gala Theatre in Durham on Friday 21st March. And if you happen to be in another part of England you could catch her elsewhere..check out the dates on her website.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Review:Dark Woods, Deep Snow @northernstage

Dark Woods, Deep Snow – A Grimm Tale For Christmas Northern Stage 7th December 2013.
Once Upon A Time…the woods were dark and the snow was deep. There lived a pig (Rebecca Wilkie) who said no lines but got the bulk of the laugh out loud moments.
The annual Christmas production for the over 7s, directed by the Northern Stage’s Artistic Director Lorne Campbell, takes full advantage of the very wide stage. The set is filled with trees and the Harmoniser, which pulls stories together. As the audience enter a number of crows move slowly around as the Old Woman (Joanna Holden) entertains using a walkway which extends the stage to the rear of the auditorium. Luka (Assad Zaman) kicks off proceedings with a monologue about his story and how he was once lost in the dark woods.
Eventually we are joined by Mila (Helen Goalen) and Lily (Abbi Greenland, both of Rash Dash fame) who are trying to piece together stories when Johann (Gary Kitching) lands in the harmoniser. The harmoniser is a wonderful prop which is as temperamental as Dr Who’s TARDIS. The storymakers then try to solve the problem created by a crack between their existence, at the edge of the dark wood, and that of the human world.
The second half of the show continued to show the brilliance of the set with the dancing crows between the trees during some of the cliffhanger moments. Johann often provides some laughs through Gary Kitching’s comic timing.  The ending provided an opportunity for the audience to get involved and tonight everyone got involved, not just the half sized people. Final word goes to our 10 year old who said the show was “great!”

Until Sat 28/12/13
Starring Paul Charlton & Gary Kitching.
The trailer is on youtube at
Recommended Age: 7+
Straight from Work Performance: Fri 13 Dec, 5.30pm
Running time: 2 hours (plus an interval)
Please note: The stage is extended and runs through the centre of our auditorium, there is no central aisle.
Tickets: £24, £19.50 & £14.50
Book an additional show and get your tickets cheaper! Look out for the logo.
 Buy 3 or more tickets for Sat 7 Dec 7pm and get 50% off (excluding £14.50 tickets).
- See more at: The Website

Words: Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR

Friday, 6 December 2013

Review: The Vinyls, Thomas McConnell and Coquin Migale at The Dog and Parrot

Proper artists, proper songs, a proper good night

The Dog And Parrot upstairs room, stripped of its tables and chairs makes for a perfect small venue with a reasonable bar.

Coquin Migale took to the stage for what was only their second gig as a band together and the 4-piece from Newcastle didn't fail to impress the small crowd with their music. Their songs touch on the ethereal trend that dominates some of the new music radio programmes, but then move into much more interesting territory, jumping from one musical "room" to another while keeping the theme of a song. Their Yellow Room EP is definitely worth getting hold of and can be downloaded for £0 from their Bandcamp Page. I predict great things for this band, all four of them have talent beyond their years and a youthful enthusiasm I hope they don't lose for a long time!

Thomas McConnell, is only 20 and already a very accomplished songwriter and performer. The influence of Lennon and McCartney cannot be denied, in fact Girl by the Beatles was faithfully covered by Mr McConnell during the set. His own songs including Penelope Definitely and Hello grab your attention in the way only truly great songs do. He is a skilled performer both on keyboard and guitar. I expect to hear at least some of these songs used on the TV or in film. They have that quality. Have a listen to him on his Soundcloud.

The Vinyls just ooze (yes ooze) quality as a band, with a stage presence that swelled out from the small Dog and Parrot stage like a muffin-top over tight jeans. In common with Thomas McConnell they did have a retro feel to their music and performance that worked in their favour. Their effervescent demeanour onstage and the great positivity-inducing songs shook the last scraps of workday gloom out of my head and put a smile on a lot of people's faces. The Vinyls are a complete package of talent, personality and great songs that is in need of just a little push to make them a household name.

This was a very enjoyable evening with great bands and in a very pleasant venue. Check out who else is coming in Alphabetti Spaghetti's "Brolly Season" on their website.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

@gigglebeats and production arm of @hebburnTVshow team up for #comedy quiz at @standnewcastle #hebburn @BabyCowltd


The production arm of award-winning sitcom Hebburn are hoping for another Geordie hit – when they sponsor a new comedy night on Tyneside.
Baby Cow Productions and Channel X will sponsor the Giggle Beats Comedy Quiz when it launches at The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle, on Sunday 5 January.
The industry giants, who co-produced Jason Cook’s BBC2 sitcom, are providing prizes for the quiz, which will run on the first Sunday of every month.
Gill Isles, of Baby Cow Productions, said: "We had such a great time filming in Hebburn, so we're really happy to be supporting this great comedy event in the North East."
The quiz is programmed by the comedy website Giggle Beats and combines stand-up with the traditional pub quiz format.
Comedy aficionados will be tested on their comedy knowledge by comedian Seymour Mace (Ideal, Dave’s One Night Stand), before a stand-up spot to round off the night.
Jo Caulfield, Lost Voice Guy and Andy Fury are lined up to play in the coming months.
Giggle Beats editor Andrew Dipper said: “Baby Cow and Channel X have helped create some of the best comedies of the past decade and I’m delighted they have agreed to sponsor the quiz.
“Ideal, Hebburn, Gavin and Stacy, The Trip - I could spend all day listing the amazing shows Baby Cow have worked on. They are a comedy institution.
“Channel X has been in the business for over 25 years. They have a fantastic track record producing comedy and also helped create one of my very favourite sitcoms – Reeves and Mortimer’s Catterick!”
The Giggle Beats Comedy Quiz launches at The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle, on Sunday 5 January 2014.
Tickets are £2, and available from
The quiz starts at 7pm.

Get Quizzical at The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle


Can you name every episode of Friends? Do you know how tall Ronnie Corbett is in feet and inches? Thought you were wasting your life watching daily repeats of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet? Well think again.
The Stand is delighted to announce a partnership with the comedy website Giggle Beats to bring you the ultimate night out for comedy geeks: the Giggle Beats Comedy Quiz.
Hosted by comedian Seymour Mace (Ideal, Dave’s One Night Stand), the quiz will put your comedy knowledge to the test, with lots of laughs along the way.
The night, which launches on 5 January 2014, will take place on the first Sunday of the month as part of The Newcastle Stand’s new spring comedy programme.
The Stand director Tommy Shepperd said: "We are delighted to announce this new collaboration with Giggle Beats.
“Over the last few years we've built up the biggest collection of comedy aficionados in the country - they're our regulars.
“This will give them the chance to pit their wits against each other and to see who really knows their comedy onions - but I know it'll be a great laugh for the uninitiated too.”
Up for grabs every first Sunday will be a three-course meal for two at The Stand bistro, comedy tickets, and DVDs courtesy of Baby Cow Productions and Channel X - plus Comedy Central goodie bags packed with amazing comedy prizes.
There’ll also be a short stand-up set to round off the night, all for less than the price of a sandwich.
The Giggle Beats Comedy Quiz launches at The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle, on Sunday 5 January 2014.
Tickets are £2 and available from
The quiz starts at 7pm.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Review: Ghost The Musical at Sunderland Empire

Ghost The Musical Sunderland Empire 30-11-13

The power of theatre to both entertain and amaze an audience should never be underestimated. This show is based upon the popular 1990 film Ghost and it has taken advantage of the latest in special effects to add an extra wow factor.  The show does not just rely on flashy tricks and the strong cast deliver Bruce Joel Rubin’s book with passion.

The music by Glen Ballard and Sunderland’s own Dave Stewart includes a number of decent songs that help develop the relationship between Molly (Rebecca Trehearn) and Sam (Bradley Jaden). Both of these cast members have fantastic voices that conveyed the passion that the story requires. Special mention should also go to Wendy Mae Brown who provided much of Ghost’s comedic elements in her role as psychic Oda Mae Brown. 

Designer Rob Howell has put together a set which has enabled director Matthew Warchus to keep the pace going seamlessly. The memorable illusions add to a great story rather than being the only reason to watch the show. Whilst the cast may not be big names now, their ascendancy must only be a matter of time. This is one musical that is better than the film.

The show continues at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday 7th December. Tickets £10-£39.50

Sunderland Empire 26 November - 7 December 2013

Monday - Saturday 7.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm, Premium Seats Available.
Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £10 - £39.50
Tickets: Box Office: 0844 871 3022*

Birmingham The New Alexandra Theatre 17 December 2013 - 5 January 2014

Week 1: Tue - Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Sun 3pm

Week 2: Mon, Thu - Sat 7.30pm, Fri & Sat 2.30pm, Sun 3pm

Week 3: Tue - Sat 7.30pm, Tue, Thu, Sat 2.30pm, Sun 3pm
Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £10 - £39.50
Tickets: Box Office: 0844 871 3011*

Stoke On Trent Regent Theatre 8 - 18 January 2014

Monday - Saturday 7.30pm Thursday & Saturday 2.30pm
Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £10 - £37.50
Tickets: Box Office: 0844 871 7649*

Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre 21 January - 8 February 2014

Monday - Saturday 7.30pm Thursday 2.00pm Saturday 2.30pm
 Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £19.50 - £42.50
Tickets: Box Office: 01224 641122*

Liverpool Empire  11 - 22 February 2014

Monday - Saturday 7.30pm Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm
Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £10 - £35.00
Tickets: Box Office: 0844 871 3017*

Oxford New Theatre 25 February - 8 March 2014

Monday - Saturday 7.30pm Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm
Prices quoted are for tickets booked in person at the theatre Box Office.
Prices: £10 - £35.00
Tickets: Box Office: 0844 871 3020*

Show Website
Facebook Page

Words: Stephen Oliver

Latest Launch Event Line-Up   Launch Event Volunteers   We could do with some volunteers on hand over the...