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Lucky Numbers - The Customs House, South Shields

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 16th Oct 2014 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

Lucky Numbers Pat Dunn.jpg

Production Image courtesy of Craig Leng Photography & Customs House


Lucky Numbers – The Customs House, South Shields (until 25 October)

Six years after winning the People’s Play Award (2008) and its first full-scale production at The Customs House, Lucky Numbers returns to the venue. During the intervening years, Mike Yeaman’s comedy, about a granny with dementia whose lucky numbers come up on the National Lottery, has been successfully received in Liverpool, Northern Europe and New Zealand.

When I reviewed Lucky Numbers, back in 2008, I stated that plays as good as this were ‘as rare as jackpot-winning lottery tickets’. For the most part, this remains to be the case. The script certainly stands the test of time and has been refreshed here and there to bring it bang up to date with contemporary culture.

Once again, Pat Dunn reprises the role of Nana and nails every nuance of the character with panache and perfect comedy timing. A solid supporting cast has been assembled, which includes Jayne Mackenzie, Pip Chamberlin, Micky McGregor, Harriet Ghost, Adrian Chisholm and Michael Addison, and they all perform their roles competently.

Such a piece is difficult to categorise – it is comedy, drama and farce, by turn, and herein lies its strength. However, Michael Strassen’s direction seems to miss that point entirely and favour only one direction – that of farce. In a somewhat futile attempt to make the piece ‘Ayckbournesque’, some of the poignancy is diminished along the way.

Overall, though, the play was received well by the opening night audience and it is clearly still a winner – even if the pay-out is slightly less than before.

Steve Burbridge.


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Steve. Yes, such a shame when you see something that is nigh on perfect but a subsequent production lets your high expectations down.
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