Review: Gerry & Sewell at Live Theatre Newcastle

Review: Gerry & Sewell at Live Theatre Newcastle

Gerry and Sewell opened this week at the Live Theatre Newcastle. Based on Jonathan Tulloch’s The Season Ticket and adapted by Jamie Eastlake this had two sell out runs at Laurels, Whitley Bay. The transfer here is the first ever North East fringe theatre transfer in 50 years of Live Theatre, which shows just how much of a great reception it received and the promise this production has showed to come to a larger stage and audience.

The show is set in 2019 follows two friends Gerry (Dean Logan) and Sewell (Jack Robertson) who are young lads attending the university of life rather than that of school on a daily basis. They’re out to survive and can only do so by coming up with ways to beg, steal or borrow.. Ultimately, they crave the one thing they want in their lives..hope, and this comes through their shared love of Newcastle United, a desire to get season tickets and the opportunity attending may bring. So they give up their vices and undergo a continuous set of ‘missions’ to help them work towards it. 

Dean Logan as Gerry is the brains behind this duo. Always thinking of ways they can get quick money he’s more of a Del Boy in his thinking, despite most of the ideas being illegal in this case. Louder and more brash than his sidekick he gives off this persona that everything’s ok. 

Jack Robertson as Sewell likes chicken nuggets and has an ongoing fascination with a lass he knows. If Logan was Del Boy, Robertson is more of a Trigger. A bit slower on the uptake but hugely loveable and you know he means well. 

Both together have a great chemistry on stage and are hugely believable as these troublesome rogues from Gateshead. The show is filled full of laughs throughout and both characters are able to bring them in equal amount. 

Becky Clayburn deserves a lot of credit also. Multitasking by playing no fewer than five other characters with very different personalities she has to change within seconds for some scenes. Managing to differentiate with (seeming) ease between characters, accents and even some puppetry, Clayburn brought a huge contribution to the production. 

Amongst all the bravado and scheming however there are background circumstances that affect them, family issues, drug, alcohol and sexual abuse which also bring home the struggles endured of the victims and those around them. Both characters are given moments individually allowing their vulnerability to be displayed, heart on sleeve directly to us which I thought contrasted brilliantly. 

The set is fantastic with a life size metro carriage on the stage, amongst other props. It has depth and allows for the story to be told across different locations with a bit of imagination added. Lighting and sound also plays a vital part in building the atmosphere and we also get to hear some local music too.

I loved the start to the show also, AC/DC blaring ‘Thunder’, a slow motion introduction filled with flags waving throughout the venue. Characters walking through the audience also made it feel immersive and up close.

This play is fantastic. It is a thoroughly enjoyable production with moments where you will laugh out loud. It’s now on its hat trick of runs and it certainly hit the back of the net. It’s a show about friendship and ultimately hope. The kind of belief and hope that things will and can be better even if you can’t see it. While Newcastle United is used as the theme of which a lot of references are made, you don’t have to necessarily be a fan to follow it. I would have loved to see the original at Laurels so I could see the adaptation to this larger stage l, however based on seeing it as it is now this show is going to be a huge success and don’t think it’ll be the last we see of Gerry and Sewell. 

Showing until 18th November. Grab your ticket now and you won’t be disappointed.

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