Review: 4Play, Customs House, South Shields

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4PLAY is the fantastic result of a scheme set up by InterACT, a 44-week mentored training course which included an active placement with Northumberland Touring Company (NTC): four new plays, writers and (to me) actors.

This series of plays is based upon the Absurdity of Life and all that arcs from it.

On offer is Jailbait, written by Freddie Machin, The Plastic Chairs by Clive Holland, Sunny by Sally Torode and The Final Ballad Of Fanny Driver by Alexander Clark.

The four actors on show dealt brilliantly with the varying degrees of mood incorporated in the plays.

Each performer put all they had into conveying exactly what the writer and director wanted the audience to witness.

The ensemble of talent that NTC has nurtured in its time is of a very high standard.

Tonight’s actors stepped up to the mark and nailed everything they did.

With the performances taking place in The Studio of The Customs House, space could have been an issue, but NTC dealt with it in a brilliant minimalist fashion.

All scenery was used to its full potential. The bed in Jailbait was used as a table in The Plastic Chairs with great effect, for example.

I am not a follower of the contemporary movement: I want to go to the theatre and be thrilled from start to finish, without having to think too much about what this, or what that, means.

NTC has employed great old-school methods with a tinge of modern performance acting.

Rachel Oliver has been very fortunate to direct such a great bunch of actors, you could see her leadership shining through.

4Play might not be for everybody, but there were some great slices of theatre.