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Tyne play to be revived at Newcastle Theatre Royal

A play which was a hit at a small Newcastle theatre is transferring to a big one

Live Theatre production of TYNE by Michael Chaplin
Live Theatre production of TYNE by Michael Chaplin

Tyne, which had a sell-out run at Live Theatre in the summer, is to be revived at the Theatre Royal next March as one of many highlights of the venue’s spring/summer season.

The play, by North East writer Michael Chaplin, is based on his book Tyne View, looking at life on both banks of the river, but also includes pieces by late North East writers including Julia Darling and Tom Hadaway.

Philip Bernays, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, said: “It’s a fab play and both I and Jim (Beirne, chief executive of Live Theatre) thought there were more people in the North East who would really enjoy it.

“With the help of Port of Tyne - sponsor of Live Theatre’s current 40th anniversary season - we have managed to raise the money to put it on.”

The play follows a path previously trodden by Cooking With Elvis and The Pitmen Painters, both by Lee Hall, although they arrived on Grey Street via London and as part of national tours.

Having already announced Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Dirty Dancing, Buddy and Shrek the Musical, the theatre has revealed details of four more musicals.

Evita will return to the venue in February, with Marti Pellow in the cast, and will be followed in June by Thriller Live, a homage to Michael Jackson’s career.

Cats is back for a two-week run in July but may be topped by Top Hat, bringing the period style and glamour of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the Theatre Royal next September.

The show, with song and dance hits including Cheek to Cheek and Let’s Face the Music & Dance, promises “over 200 beautiful costumes, breath-taking dance and a love story that will set the pulse racing”.

Philip Bernays is thrilled to welcome in April a new production of Pygmalion, the George Bernard Shaw play that inspired the musical My Fair Lady, with Alistair McGowan, Rula Lenska and Jamie Foreman in the cast.

“It’s great to have really brilliant classical drama,” he said.

“Great plays with great actors are few and far between these days. I’m sure this will be a really good piece.”

One of the lesser known offerings is likely to be The Two Worlds of Charlie F, which will run at the theatre from April 28 to May 3.

It purports to offer a soldier’s view of service, injury and recovery and is performed by real ex-service personnel who share with their audience the reality of armed combat overseas.

“It’s a really extraordinary piece,” said Mr Bernays.

“It was first done a couple of years ago and I was rung up by somebody who said, ‘You have to book this show’. It was done at the Edinburgh Festival and now they have put a tour together.

“It is presented by this group of ex-service men and women and it grew out of their recovery programme. I think the idea of these real people on stage telling real-life stories will have a big impact here.”

There will be welcome returns for The Mousetrap and One Man, Two Guvnors and a raft of children’s shows includes Peppa Pig’s Big Splash at the end of August.

Tickets for all the new season shows go on sale to theatre Friends on Monday and the general public next Friday.

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