Welcome to the North East Reviews site!

Here you can find reviews of the best new performance work being made and shown in the North East of England.


Fawn and other works

from Lizzie J Klotz

Reviewed by Elaine Cusack

Lizzie J Klotz is a dance and theatre artist based in Newcastle. Her triple bill, Fawn and other works performed at Dance City last month, blended old-ish work with brand new material and displayed her talents as both dancer and choreographer. Opening piece To Suit dates from 2014 and featured original dancers Alys North and … Continue reading “Fawn and other works”

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Door-to-Door Poetry

from Rowan McCabe

Reviewed by Elaine Cusack

Rowan McCabe is not the first person to knock on someone’s front door. Council workers, canvassers and door-to-door sales folk have been knocking on millions of doors around the globe for years. Rowan styles himself as “The World’s First Door-to-Door Poet” and who am I to argue? It takes guts to stand on someone’s doorstep … Continue reading “Door-to-Door Poetry”

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Drag Me to Love

from Bonnie and The Bonnettes

Reviewed by Gemma Corking

Sitting in the Studio in the Gala Theatre with pop anthems blaring, waiting for Bonnie and The Bonnettes to come on stage, set the scene for what was to come. Think neon wigs, songs that you sing in the shower, fantastic chemistry and a boatload of sparkle, Drag Me To Love is the ultimate feel … Continue reading “Drag Me to Love”

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Miracle! An Opera of Two Halves

from Music in the Minster

Reviewed by Lewis Cuthbert

While Black Friday raged through the towns and high streets of the north, I spent the dark and stormy evening enjoying a much more positive example of community spirit. Miracle! – two years in the making – is the operatic tale of Angelo (Jonathan Cooke), the seraph propelled down to Earth to help put Sunderland … Continue reading “Miracle! An Opera of Two Halves”

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You, Me and Everything Else

from Camisado Club

Reviewed by Emily Park

In 1977, space probe Voyager was launched into space. Its job was to explore our solar system, all the while taking photographs and readings to send back to NASA on Earth. Although this all sounds quite extraordinary to begin with, Voyager also had another mission – onboard is a golden record, which includes music from … Continue reading “You, Me and Everything Else”

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Into Thin Air

from Precious Cargo

Reviewed by Michael Brown

Formed in 2010, Precious Cargo has been introducing the world to a variety of theatre moods and styles ever since, in an attempt to bridge the gap between the tastes of regular theatre-goers and those new to the form. Having performed Into Thin Air in Eastern Europe earlier this year, the piece proved a hit … Continue reading “Into Thin Air”

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Hamlet

from Theatre Space North East

Reviewed by Elaine Cusack

Big black clouds swirled above Roker Park as I joined the audience gathering for this fourth and final alfresco performance of Hamlet by Theatre Space North East. I looked around at several, shall we say, “optimistically dressed” punters and crossed my fingers inside anorak pockets. I hoped for their sake the rain would hold off … Continue reading “Hamlet”

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Launch Day

from FRESH North East at The Late Shows

Reviewed by Elaine Cusack

The Late Shows, this region’s annual cultural crawl across Newcastle and Gateshead, has woven a brand new strand into its cultural clippie mat. FRESH North East is a dance artist-led initiative which gives participants the chance to perform work in progress and receive constructive audience feedback. This year FRESH teamed up for the first time … Continue reading “Launch Day”

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Learning How To Die

from Luca Rutherford

Reviewed by Kirsten Luckins

Learning How To Die is Luca Rutherford’s debut show, and it’s a raw one. Raw, because the grief which inspires it is intimate, present and recent. But raw also in the sense of ‘underdone’, or in need of further processing. On one side of the stage, Luca speaks to us about her father’s terminal cancer. … Continue reading “Learning How To Die”

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The Town Meeting

from Cap-a-Pie

Reviewed by Hannah Morpeth

Inspired by Kiruna, a town in Sweden that had to move 3km east in order for mining in the area to continue, The Town Meeting is a performing research piece which explored how people make decisions when the fate of their town is in their hands. On arrival I’m handed an envelope with some secret … Continue reading “The Town Meeting”

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THE FRIGHTS

from Alphabetti Theatre

Reviewed by Andrew Smaje

A woman and a man, waiting. They appear to be a couple, but are alone in their thoughts. The silence between them is unbearable. The Frights by Louise Taylor explores the aftermath of traumatic events: the comedown from extreme experience. What’s it like to live with the memory of being kidnapped and tortured? What’s it … Continue reading “THE FRIGHTS”

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Jumping Puddles

from Open Clasp Theatre in collaboration with Frantic Assembley

Reviewed by Tracy Hyman

Jumping Puddles is a thoughtful, moving and poignant piece of theatre. It is hard hitting at times, yet at others it is light hearted and funny. The play tells the story of two ordinary sisters, bickering and fighting as only sisters can. Yet below the surface their life is far from ordinary; their mam is … Continue reading “Jumping Puddles”

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Northern Platforms

from Dance City

Reviewed by Emily Park

On March 5, Dance City once again played host to an annual showcase of the best dance talent that the North East, Yorkshire, North West and Scotland have to offer. Northern Platforms is an event that focuses a spotlight on new dance works and the next big ideas in performance across the North. Made up … Continue reading “Northern Platforms”

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Too Much, Too Young

from Jack Bennett

Reviewed by Humira Imtiaz

The first show to kick off the ARC’s “Pay What You Decide” scheme, “Too Much, Too Young” is a witty, innovative, interactive show exploring the flaws within the UK education system. Jack (or is it Geoff) Bennet invites the audience into his live investigation of how a child fairs from their education and the choices … Continue reading “Too Much, Too Young”

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The Snow Bear

from Hearthside Tales

Reviewed by Lewis Cuthbert

The weather outside may have been frightful this Christmas, but Hearthside Tales provided a truly delightful show for young children with their tale of the Snow Bear, King of the Great North Star; an enchanting mix of songs, games and puppetry that definitely warmed the cockles. Hearthside Tales are master storyteller Chris Bostock and musical … Continue reading “The Snow Bear”

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The Sense of an Ending

from Red Road Dance Theatre

Reviewed by Elaine Cusack

The performance begins with a woman walking away from the audience carrying two large suitcases. She’s moving slowly, her back is bent. She stops to rest and she sighs. It appears her emotional as well as her physical load is hard to bear. I want to spring from my seat, put my arms around her … Continue reading “The Sense of an Ending”

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Fresh Northeast Scratch Night

from FRESH North East at The Late Shows

Reviewed by Michael Brown

To a beautiful waltz composed by Inigo Ugarteburu, two would-be lovers perform a piece centred on a gym rope, instantly proving three isn’t necessarily a crowd. Choreographers and performers Newton’s Ladder have an interest in ‘liberating the aerialist on the ground and the dancer in the air’. This brief extract from a work in progress … Continue reading “Fresh Northeast Scratch Night”

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Mamela

from Curious Monkey

Reviewed by Kirsten Luckins

It’s a simple stage, blackboards propped around with a few words chalked on them – POLITICS, LUCIA – and some plain black chairs, the kind you might find in a community centre. Seven women enter separately, singing, and form a row on stage. Each one wears a different coloured top. Each one steps forward and … Continue reading “Mamela”

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The Gamblers

From Selma Dimitrijevic

Reviewed by Debbie Stokoe

There was a lot to like in this tale of tricksters, card sharks and con artists featuring women playing men who weren’t all that they seemed… Even from the very outset it was obvious that this fast-paced piece (a new version of Gogol’s classic play, directed by Selma Dimitrijevic) was going to involve a study … Continue reading “The Gamblers”

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Heaven Eyes

from Théâtre Sans Frontières

Reviewed by Debbie Stokoe

Upon walking into Caedmon Hall in Gateshead, I already felt as though I had been transported into some alternative reality. There were bits of flotsam and jetsam scattered around the stage, with a large wooden structure in the centre which appeared to be some kind of armoire with a treehouse on top. I was prepared … Continue reading “Heaven Eyes”

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The Night Ball

from balletLORENT

Reviewed by Hannah Morpeth

Brought to North Shore by Sunderland Stages, balletLORENT’s The Night Ball is a beautifully immersive dance production with all of the intimacy associated with social dance. The University of Sunderland’s Student’s Union was brought alive by the dancing feet of Newcastle based BalletLORENT, from waltzing couples to latin to hip-hop, the show had it all. … Continue reading “The Night Ball”

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Collector of Tears

from Sean Burn

Reviewed by Emily Park

With little more than a cellist and a single tree branch for company, actress Madeleine MacMahon triumphantly told a story that covered 400 years and quite possibly even more characters in the play, Collector of Tears. Written by Sean Burn, the play focused on a young woman who couldn’t age until she cried, but covered … Continue reading “Collector of Tears”

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84

from One for All Productions

Reviewed by Tracy Hyman

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the 1984 miners’ strike. It was an event that affected the daily lives of the people in the mining communities in the North East. The events that unfolded brought together communities and ultimately ripped them apart, bringing high levels of unemployment as the mines eventually closed down. This … Continue reading “84”

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AURICULAR

from Surface Area Dance Theatre

Reviewed by Andrew Smaje

‘Auricular’ means ‘relating to the ear’ – and in this performance for deaf and hearing audiences, the sounds the ear would normally experience, music and speech, are transformed into dance, movement and shared vibration. Surface Area Dance, supported by Dance City and BALTIC, has created a piece that explores forms of silent speech (specifically BSL) … Continue reading “AURICULAR”

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Dharma Punk Revolution

from Sandy Davidson

Reviewed by Humira Imtiaz

The Punk Revolution came into full force at the Star and Shadow Cinema; Sandy Davidson played an eclectic variety of characters stemming from the present situation of a man longing for some peace at heart and mind. This semi-autobiographical piece has a series of different sketches which gives an insight into the mind of a … Continue reading “Dharma Punk Revolution”

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I Told You This Would Happen

from Kathryn Beaumont

Reviewed by Lewis Cuthbert

Harry Potter actor Emma Watson recently gave a speech at the UN, launching the HeForShe campaign to ‘end gender inequality’, in which she pondered the demonization of feminism in the press and wider social media. ‘Why has the word become an uncomfortable one?’ she asked. Kathryn Beaumont’s blog responded: ‘Because feminism is holding up a big … Continue reading “I Told You This Would Happen”

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