Hebburn star Neil Grainger gets serious for role in dramatic play at Customs House

Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.
Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.
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Hebburn star Neil Grainger is swapping comedy for drama as he heads to South Shields in a new play.

The actor, who played pub singer Gervaise in the BBC2 sitcom, is coming to the Customs House in Petrification.

Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.

Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.

He’ll be at the Mill Dam venue on Wednesday.

Neil, who is also part of the Geordie Rat Pack, has been involved with the show since its workshop stages and is excited to see it finally come to fruition.

He said: “I’ve been doing a lot of comedy over the last few years but this is back to my roots with real drama.

“The writer, Zoe Cooper, is amazing and I’m really excited to be part of it. I’ve done workshops on it over the last few years so it’s fantastic so see it happening.

Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.

Neil Grainger in Petrification. Picture by Chris Bishop.

“It’s been very interesting doing drama again. It’s been quite challenging because they’re such different mediums and it can be quite difficult to switch between the two of them.

“But at the same time, there’s real heart to the Geordie Rat Pack stuff and to Hebburn and there’s some lighter comedy moments in Petrification too.

“All the best performers can switch between the two so I’m hoping to get better at doing that, and it’s good to be doing something that’s a bit more serious.”

Neil stars as Simon who returns home to Gateshead from London to find everything has changed.

His brother, Sean is in a relationship with Aidan, a man Simon has never met, and Sean is irritated by Simon’s new cosmopolitan ways.

Neil, who hails from Middlesbrough, added: “My character is one that really resonates with me. I moved to London 18 years ago and I’ve only been coming back to work here regularly for the last five or six years, and you do wonder if you’ll still fit in when you come home.

“The play deals with homosexuality as well which is something that I think the North East has a very good understanding of. Simon knows his brother is gay but he comes home to find he’s in a long term relationship with a man that Simon has never even met and it’s a bit of a shock to the system.”

Tickets for the 7.45pm show cost £12 with a £10 concession. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.

The show is suitable for people aged 14 and over.