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Review: Looking Good Dead | Newcastle Theatre Royal

Newcastle Theatre Royal may have had it’s ghost light on for too long, now reopened it’s Looking Good Dead this week!

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#AD InNewcastle.co.uk was invited to come along and see the stage adaptation of Looking Good Dead, the book by Peter James starring Gaynor Faye and Adam Woodyatt. The show is currently on at the Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 24 July.

This was our first trip to the Theatre since Boris was happy to reopen venues and was the second show to come to the Newcastle Theatre Royal after the smash hit ‘Six’ were on stage last week.

The venue have made changes to the way they operate and so now all theatregoers are required to wear a mask as a condition of entry (unless exempt or eating food and drink).Customers now recieve contactless eTickets emailed for display via your mobile phone or printed off to be scanned on entry. The venue is also a cashless operation, so be prepared to have your card as thy wont take cash now. You are encouraged to check in with the NHS app. The venue also has sanitising stations situated around different areas. While wearing a mask throughout a show isn’t my preferred option, it’s one request i’ll happily comply with if i can continue to see acts come to the stage.

Looking Good Dead is the fifth Peter James novel to be brought to the stage and follows the hugely successful productions of The House on Cold Hill starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons, Not Dead Enough starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore, The Perfect Murder starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace and Dead Simple starring Tina Hobley all of which have been Newcastle Theatre Royal audience favourites in recent years. 

Adam Woodyatt plays Tom Bryce, the business owner in debt, and struggling to make ends meet. In typical Ian Beale style, appears to be an unlucky in life guy that tries to do his best by his family and needing to be the bread winner for the family. He just needs some luck which may just be about to change in the way of stranger Jonas Kent. Married to Kellie Bryce played by Gaynor Faye, a secret alcoholic who seems a little lost as a mum at home and wanting to do more. Despite their struggles and bickering both want the best for eachother. Both roles were played well by these experienced actors. However, I really enjoyed Luke Ward-Wilkinsons performance as son Max Bryce, and his teenage outlook on life. He brought an energy and enthusiasim to the play, through teeenage naievity and spontaneous actions, aided by a brilliant pair of noise cancelling earphones.

Hours after picking up a USB memory stick, left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce, played by Adam Woodyatt inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder, leaving himself and his family in danger. A situation that goes on to show secrets, lies and personal struggles which come to light. After father and son watch a the content on this USB stick, it leads to warnings and kidnapping. Having involved the police we also see the investigative side to the play. Harry Long, Leon Stewart and Gemma Stroyan play the trio looking into the case. Be prepared for a lot of dry humour and dad jokes from these which brought humour amid their own personal struggles. Is everything as it seems? Is this simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? This thriller brings you revalations and twists, which i can’t say too much about without giving it away.

Staging was simple but well thought out, set across three scenes that contrasted eachother well, it features the Bryce’s living room/kitchen, the police station and the warehouse of where the videos were being made. This made for good visuals as you would see the father and son sit to watch these online videos, where we would see the action play out behind them on a raised stage.

Looking Good Dead was an enjoyable return to the theatre. A play in which gave me a few surprises and shows not to take everyone at face value, as much as i’d like too!

Looking Good Dead plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Mon 19 – Sat 24 Jul 2021.Tickets are priced from £15.00 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).


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