Spring 2018 at the Customs House

Peter Lathan

South Shields Customs House has announced its new season from January to March 2018, as always a mixture of comedy, theatre, music and dance.

First up in theatre is Wisdom of a Fool (11 February), a one-man show written by Jack Lane and Martyn Bell and performed by Lane, the story of one of the great slapstick comics of the twentieth century, Norman Wisdom. BTG reviewer Amy Yorston wrote that it would “take a heart of stone” not to be moved by Lane’s “incredible” performance.

From 14 to 18 February at 2:00, favourites from The Lambton Worm Arbuthnot (David John Hopper) and Puddles the Dog (Lewis Jobson) return in a new children’s show, Puddles’ Adventure, the story of how Super Sleuth Puddles (with a little help from Arbuthnot) takes on the new supervillain in town.

Then on 22 and 23 February, Blackeyed Theatre brings its revival of John Godber’s Teechers to South Shields. The BTG’s Robin Strapp gave it 10 out of 10 when he reviewed the original production in 2013.

Finally in drama, 6 to 19 March sees the Customs House’s community production, a new musical The Day Mohammed Ali Came to South Shields.

It’s 1977 and Joe Kelly can’t believe his luck. His sporting hero, Muhammad Ali is coming to South Shields and Joe has a great idea. It will get everyone talking and make his dad proud. He’ll impress his friends and more importantly, Maya the girl next door.

There’s just a few obstacles to overcome; he’s no boxer, his dad can’t stand fighting, and the Queen might thoroughly upset the apple cart. But his plan could work. His dream could come true...

The dance programme begins on 6 February with Step Up and Dance in which dance groups from North and South Tyneside compete for a place in the regional dance festival Pulse, which could see them go on to represent the region in the national U Dance festival.

Ballet Theatre UK comes to the Customs House on 21 February with a new dance version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

On 28 March, Kelly Abbott Dance Theatre presents Launch Day, which draws its inspiration from paintings by Alexander Millar, a Scottish artist based in the North East, known for his large-scale paintings of ‘Gadgies’, or working people of the region and its industrial past, the men who build the ships. The piece is a celebration of North East life, its culture and the industry that represents its past, present and future.

Finally, the Customs House has announced next year’s panto, which will run from 27 November 2018 to 5 January 2019: Beauty and the Beast which, after being written almost 300 years ago, finally gets the Customs House treatment.