19-23 April 2016
Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Based on the novel ‘Jack’s return home’ by Ted Lewis and made famous by Michael Caine’s performance in the 1971 film. Jack is an ‘anti-hero’ a gangster and enforcer who has returned from London to Newcastle, a city he swore he would never return too, following the death of his brother Frank. On his return, Jack begins to unravel the truth behind his brother’s untimely death and how his connections in the underworld may be more involved that he could at first believe.
The staging is a real work of art, bringing the industrial feel of the era to the theatre. A brick pile dominates, whilst a brick wall provides a background for menacing silhouettes when Jack phones his criminal counterparts in London. The lighting is suburb, flicking between focus when Jack is interacting with the other characters and the ghost of his brother whose death he is determined to avenge. The atmosphere created by the lighting and staging is dark and unsettling, perfect for the story which unfolds in front of the audience.
I was not familiar with the film or book prior to seeing this production and maybe this was the reason I found myself not engaging with the character of Jack. When Jack delivered his lines I could only find myself thinking of how John Bishop delivers his comedy, forceful then lowering his tone for the punchline. However I would not want to deter, Kevin Wathen obviously puts everything into his performance and he is a very strong actor, the energy he puts into the role is immense.
Donald Mcbride gives a stunning performance across the three roles of Albert, Brumby and Gumboots. He transforms himself for each character in a way that must be challenging. Michael Hodgson in the roles of Kinnear and Con is equally as impressive, his whole stature changes in a way I have not seen many actors being able too.
Despite the darkness of the subject there were a couple of light-hearted moments, generating a snigger from the audience. The 1960’s soundtrack and vocal performances from the cast are excellent. Get Carter may not have been my kind of thing however I would not want that to deter, it is a splendid production by a very talented creative team and cast.
A Northern Stage, Newcastle Production.
Tickets cost from £20 to £26 (includes £2 booking fee).
Get Carter is at The Lowry in Manchester until 23 April 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000