REVIEW: Dance To Your Daddy, The Customs House, South Shields, Until March 7

HISTORY LESSON ... South Shields-based musical Dance To Your Daddy, wrriten by David Cooke, is at the Customs House, in South Shields.
HISTORY LESSON ... South Shields-based musical Dance To Your Daddy, wrriten by David Cooke, is at the Customs House, in South Shields.
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A MUSICAL set in the heart of South Shields is an absolute delight.

The play, penned by Cleadon’s David Cooke with music by Grahame Wright, takes place in the town mostly between the 1940s and 1960s.

It follows the lives of a group of residents of one Tyne Dock street, in a time when the back lane was the place to share gossip and hearsay.

Everyone knew everything about everybody else and no one locked their doors.

The main crux of the story revolves around friends Mary (Angela Hannon) and Louise (Patricia Whale) and Mary’s son, Jimmy (Luke Maddison).

Poor simple Mary has been knocked up and no one knows who the father is. Unable to look after the child on her own, Louise lends a hand and as Jimmy grows older, he begins to question exactly where he came from.

HISTORY LESSON ... South Shields-based musical Dance To Your Daddy, wrriten by David Cooke, is at the Customs House, in South Shields.

HISTORY LESSON ... South Shields-based musical Dance To Your Daddy, wrriten by David Cooke, is at the Customs House, in South Shields.

Hannon’s portrayal of sweet but slow Mary is fantastic and it balances out brilliantly with Whale’s more sour character.

Maddison is great as the young, tortured soul and another stand-out performance came from Amie Daisy Jeffels, as Lizzie/Lily, who showcased a beautiful singing voice.

The show is cleverly steered by narrator Carol Cooke who weaves all of the characters and stories together.

Songs written for the show are catchy and memorable, and each one really adds to the scene that it’s been slotted into – the musical was originally an entirely-spoken play.

The musical clearly strikes a chord with those old enough to remember the times, and the younger generations could learn a thing or two from it.

Backed up by a duo of musicians, the cast sing gorgeously together and solo performances from Jeffels, Maddison, Whale and Hannon are particularly lovely.

A card-playing song performed by gossiping trio Vera (Ethne Brown), Edna (Viv Wiggins) and Mary (Christine Prince), is brilliant.

The set is simple but effective. Characters peering from behind the curtains in the windows of their upstairs flats while action goes on below them is a great touch.

It was lovely to hear the older people in the audience whispering to each other in agreement of what life was like back then, sharing tales of taking their father’s bet to the bookie in the back lane, and going out in the cold to the outdoor loo.

BACK LANES ... Women gossip in the back lanes of South Shields in musical Dance To Your Daddy.

BACK LANES ... Women gossip in the back lanes of South Shields in musical Dance To Your Daddy.

It was equally entertaining to hear them tutt and gasp each time a cast member swore.

The musical clearly strikes a chord with those old enough to remember the times, and the younger generations could learn a thing or two from it.

The show is the latest community play and is raising funds for the Customs House – a very worthy cause, in my view.

The show is set in the heart of the community and supporting our very own community theatre and is certainly worth a trip out this week.

It’s laced with fantastic Geordie humour and touching moments that are sure to delight all those who go along to see it.

Dance To Your Daddy runs at the Customs House until Saturday, March 7. Click here to book tickets or call the box office on 454 1234.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki