Comedy revival at the Customs House

Peter Lathan

A North East comedy from 2016, End of the Pier by Neil Armstrong, is to be revived at the Customs House in South Shields from 22 to 26 August.

Originally produced by Cloud Nine in a five-venue tour, the play will now be produced by Ion Productions and will be a new, longer version, says Armstrong.

“I am really pleased the play is going to be staged at The Customs House,” he adds, “and I'm currently re-writing it to fit our new larger environment.

“I think a lot of theatres overlook comedies as somehow ‘lesser’ works, but thankfully The Customs House has always provided a home for them.”

His work has been nominated for awards by BAFTA, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and The National Comedy Awards. His last play, Remember Jim?, won Best Show at the 2014 Sunderland Culture awards. He is also co/director, writer and chief pantomime villain of the Durham Gala pantos.

Gareth Hunter, artistic director of Ion Productions, was keen to bring it to The Customs House. “I saw the show last year and really loved it, so I was keen to bring it to a bigger venue,” he said.

Set in a tatty end of the pier dressing room in Edwardian England, End of the Pier tells the story of Lionel and Edith Bosh, a music hall double act known as The Lovebirds. They’ve been married for 25 years, but the love has gone and their only desire now is to kill each other, with each plotting to do so on the same night.

Unfortunately, things don't go according to either of their plans when an unexpected guest arrives in their dressing room.

Armstrong and Zoe Lambert will reprise their roles as Lionel and Edith. Further casting will be announced soon.