Audiences are welcomed into the layback, and yet chaotic lives, of two ‘lads’ from Newcastle who’s cheeky one liners and dim-witted tomfoolery create a fine piece of theatre for all to enjoy. Pilot, ‘one of the UK’s leading touring theatre companies’ work hand in hand with Northern Stage, ‘one of the UK’s most popular national touring companies for the last 20 years’ to demonstrate their uniqueness and contemporary vision as theatre groups.
Gerry (Niek Versteeg), the leading protagonist, resembles that of the lost boy Billy Elliot, surrounded by doubt and abuse and yet having an overriding passion. Which in this particular play is football. Gerry and his right hand man and best friend Sewell (Will Graham) are a double act that will stop at nothing to win season tickets for the big game, even if it involves stealing from Waterstones or selling off worn out goods that would look more appealing in a local skip. The joy and energy these chaps bring to the stage light up the rather run down council estate of a set and add colour to a relatively grey backdrop.
Although the production itself is jam backed with amusing characters and slapstick comedy there is a real darkness and unease that simmers below the radar of the close knit family following throughout the storyline. A drunk father, a lost sibling, a tarnished reputation, debt beyond belief and all triggered by lies and deceit. Lies that struggle to heal quickly and with serious consequences. A powerful statement brought forth within the play is the dramatic closing sequences of both acts. The raging father facing off against the weak submissive son, brutally beating the boy to the ground before stealing his long saved money for the big game. A clear cut moment of loss and hopelessness that simmers well beneath ones skin and creates the much needed drama and unease that makes theatre so full of depth.
A slight disappointment however is the performance’s lack of variety in parts. Parts that leave one empty and feeling like the time is used as filler and not a point of focus or transition between characters or circumstances. Breaks in action and suspense are easy pitfalls in this piece and one can feel uninvolved and eventually uninterested. A shame as it limited the higher quality of the more captivating scenes and situations that grab one from the get go.
Overall I find the piece to be refined, relevant and jam packed with laughs and the gags any audience will love. Combined with likeable characters and a well-established location the whole experience can only be summed up as a creative treat that shouldn’t be missed! 3/5
Review by Luke Redhead.
The Season Ticket was shown at the York Theatre Royal from Wednesday 12th until Saturday 15th October. To find out more about the production which is on tour, visit here…