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Sharp lines and acting

WHEN you are asked to review a play about Geordie samurai and your first look at the stage takes in several blade-like instruments, you may be tempted to avoid writing anything negative.

Son Of Samurai at the Customs House until Saturday

WHEN you are asked to review a play about Geordie samurai and your first look at the stage takes in several blade-like instruments, you may be tempted to avoid writing anything negative.

Thankfully, thoughts of ritual beheading for bad Press disappeared as Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood's Son of Samurai, a radio play performed on stage, unfolded in a mostly enjoyable fashion.

Set in an infamous Bushido training field – Byker – this East meets North-East tale depicts a young shop clerk, Jackie, and his encounter with his real father, the samurai warrior Akira.

Taking in Earl Grey, foot fetishists and the restorative power of cereal, this fantastical premise initially stumbled along. The audience seemed to be unsure how to deal with a production mostly based on the power of voice and sound effects.

However, once the actors and audience settled into the format – helped by the usual jokes at Sunderland's expense – the quality of the material and the performers shone through.

The actors did well in fleshing out the aural experience, interacting in a way that created the illusion of action on stage and in the mind. Iain Cunningham did a good job of managing the action as Jackie ‘Chan’, hamming it up to squeeze out comedy from every word.

Special mention must also go to Jim Kitson as the karaoke-loving Akira.

So for all those who want entertainment without too much exertion – and after the delicious meal served pre-show, movement might be undesirable – this stage equivalent of putting your feet up on a Saturday afternoon and relaxing by the stereo is highly recommended.

Incidentally, it’s a big week for Messrs Waugh and Wood. Their Waiting For Gateau is at the Theatre Royal until Wednesday.

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