REVIEW: Tyne, The Customs House, South Shields

Live Theatre production of'TYNE'by Michael Chaplin'directed by Max Roberts
Live Theatre production of'TYNE'by Michael Chaplin'directed by Max Roberts
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TYNE is a ghost story twice over.

While one line follows a brother and sister as they cope with the death of their father, the other, through a book their dad penned to pass on to them, reveals the fame and fortune of this once-mighty river.

Tyne takes its audience on a journey along its banks and through its history, as well as where its future is heading too.

It was a real education as tales of shipyards, boats, bridges, buildings, industrialists, writers and more were wrapped up in characters and a wonderful use of the region’s accents.

In with the swirling mix of facts and fiction is a good dose of sharp, dry North-East humour, music and songs as the seven hugely talented actors take on multiple roles.

An apt setting by the side of the play’s star, the Customs House, where we saw it performed, got a key role in the return of this piece, first staged at the Live Theatre in Newcastle as part of last year’s Festival of the North.

For anyone under the illusion this is a tale of Tyneside, Sunderland and a whole host of other places across the region get plenty of mentions too, with chords struck on the reality of dying trades and changing times all will identify with.

Credit to writer Michael Chaplin, director Max Roberts and musical director Kathryn Tickell, it’s the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I know I wasn’t the only one with a lump in my throat and tear in my eye as the family’s story came to a close.

As well as being performed at The Customs House, the play is at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle until Saturday.

Fiona Thompson