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The Pitmen Painters - Does what it says on the Tin! (Sorry, couldn't resist:)

Published by: Paul Tyree on 3rd Jun 2013 | View all blogs by Paul Tyree

Bill Kenwright presents the Live Theatre Newcastle and National Theatre co-production of

The Pitmen Painters

Mon 3 – Sat 8 June

Presented at Lyceum
Running time: 2 hours 35 mins (including an interval of 20 mins)


Lee Hall, the writer of Billy Elliot, here tries to pull off an even greater feat of writing in transposing the story of a group of miners who took to painting and to some extent took the art world by, if not by storm, then at least with a bit of unexpected wind.

The Pitman Painters is very well written in places and all of the actors perform with passion and in some cases genuine believability. Donald McBride as 'Jimmy' is not only marvellously funny with spot on timing, you actually feel this is not a person acting but instead simply recreating what he's already been through.

Philip Correia as 'Oliver Kilbourn' is also a stand out and to his credit his good looks never get in the way of his acting ability. You actually feel that this means something to him. As a baseline for his acting ability this promises great things ahead.

Joe Caffrey as Harry Wilson the dentist with the leftist bent is also fantastic whenever he is asked to contribute, no better than when he's telling the young Oliver to choose the artist's life.

Suzy Cooper as the privilidged art enthusiast manages to make what could be quite a superficial character both moving and believable which is no mean feat. Indeed all of the actors perform wonderfully.

Such a shame then that, on the press night at least, the Lyceum was only a quarter full for this heartfelt and sometimes wonderful play. I must admit that there were a few occasions that I'd wished the author had remembered the old Hollywood adage "If you have a point love, for God's sake don't tell the audience!" But overall that's a minor quibble (minor, do you get it? Oh never mind).

The point is this is a wonderful play about art and social history and after seeing it I left the auditorium almost feeling cleansed. It might be time to move on, but we would be lessened if we ever forgot our own history, and this play manages to make us feel. Really feel!

If you don't have a ticket for the love of your forefathers and sense of self-worth, go and get one! Immediately!!

Playing until Saturday!!


Tue 4 Jun 7:45pm   £16.00 - £23.00* Book Tickets
Wed 5 Jun 7:45pm   £16.00 - £23.00* Book Tickets
Thu 6 Jun 2:00pm   £13.00 - £20.00* Book Tickets
Thu 6 Jun 7:45pm Audio Described, Signed £16.00 - £23.00* Book Tickets
Fri 7 Jun 7:45pm   £18.00 - £25.00* Book Tickets
Sat 8 Jun 3:00pm   £14.00 - £21.00* Book Tickets
Sat 8 Jun 7:45pm   £18.00 - £25.00* Book Tickets


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Thanks, Paul. I see what you did, there! :o)
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