South Shields theatre fans will love this new play abut their home town

The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields' by The Westovians Theatre Society.
 (L-R) is Declan Marshall, Viv Wiggins, John Errington, Katie Stubbs.
Front is David Beston and Tracy Office.


Katie Stubbs
The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields' by The Westovians Theatre Society. (L-R) is Declan Marshall, Viv Wiggins, John Errington, Katie Stubbs. Front is David Beston and Tracy Office. Katie Stubbs

Theatre fans are being offered a comical new show about two clashing South Shields families.

Amateur theatre group The Westovians Theatre Society is getting set to present its latest production - called ‘All Together Like the Folks of Shields.’

The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields' by The Westovians Theatre Society.
 Viv Wiggins, Katie Stubbs and John Errington.

The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields' by The Westovians Theatre Society. Viv Wiggins, Katie Stubbs and John Errington.

The performance kicked off on Tuesday at The Pier Pavilion Theatre and will run for five nights until Saturday.

The lively show is set in 1970s South Shields and follows the story of ongoing conflict between two sets of neighbours living in Tyneside flats, who clash over politics, parties and all of their combined history.

The show has been written by David Cooke and directed by James Barton, along with assistant director Carole Cooke.

It centres around two couples - Des and Betty Charlton who have the latest furniture and a huge TV - and George and Alvera Armstrong - who are down on their luck and live in faded fifties drab.

The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields.
David Beston and Tracy Office with Declan Marshall.

The cast of new show 'All Together Like the Folks of Shields. David Beston and Tracy Office with Declan Marshall.

The tensions between them reach breaking point when their grown up children announce that they want to marry and become missionaries in the Belgian Congo.

Taken together they represent two explanations of the title of the play.

Des defines it as representing a town where everyone is supportive, caring and out to have a good time.

George, however, sees the phrase as describing a close knit exclusive community that keeps itself to itself and shuns outside interference.

The two families have different approaches to their lives and frequently come into conflict but, by the end of the play, they are all together.

The show’s cast includes stars David Beston as Des Charlton; Tracy Office as Betty Charlton; John Errington as George Armstrong and Viv Wiggins as Alvera Armstrong.

David Cooke said he hopes the show will be a hit in the town.

“The show is funny and has lots of Geordie references and 70s Shields references in it, along with a couple of surprising twists,” he said.

“It is an ideal show for families with teenagers.

“It has taken me six moths to write and as part of the writing process I asked people what they thought ‘All Together Like the Folks of Shields’ meant and some people thought it was being open and friendly.

“We are hoping it will be a sell out.”

Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7:30pm each evening.

Tickets are £9 and can be bought on the door or in advance by calling: 0191 456 0980.

REVIEW

South Shields author and playwright Ed Waugh has called the play a ‘celebration of working class life.’

He said: “All Together Like the Folks of Shields is a fitting aphorism to celebrate working class life - the need for community, solidarity and to lend a helping hand.

“South Tyneside writer David Cooke has penned an original comedy to celebrate these beliefs that is funny and feel-good, but he’s not afraid to add warts and all that are part of families struggling to get through on a day-to-day basis.

“Cooke has mastered the first rule of comedy writing for theatre: know your audience. 
“The title alone drew in a bumper crowd.

“From the off this hit the comedy button and the good folk of Shields laughed at their own foibles at every opportunity.

“Beginning on New Year’s Day 1970, we see two neighbouring families with their own particular problems, namely the respective misogynistic males of the household.

“David Gibson’s impressive set sees the stage split into two kitchens/sitting rooms with most of the action taking place in either kitchen.

“Des Charlton (David Beston) has become a waster while his neighbour George Armstrong (John Errington) seems to have given up the will to live.

“Their long-suffering wives Betty Charlton (Tracy Office) and Alvera Armstrong (Viv Wiggins) have further problems to contend with when their teenage Christian fanatical kids Helen Armstrong (Katie Stubbs) and Alex Charlton (Jack Robert Young) decide they are going to become missionaries in the Belgian Congo (Zaire).

“Alvera’s youngest son, Jack (Declan Marshall), seems to be the normal one but he’s not adverse to throwing his fists around in the home.

“This certainly isn’t a sugar-coated look at life!

“The women hatch a hilarious plan to rectify their lives and the storyline develops at a cracking pace, thanks to Jim Barton’s assured direction

“If you’re a folk of Shields, this hugely entertaining piece will be right up you street.”