‘Get Carter’ at Northern Stage, Newcastle – a review

The other night, as part of one of my modules, I went to see the play adaptation of ‘Get Carter’ based on the book by Ted Lewis, Jack’s Return Home.  I decided not to write an essay on the performance but still wanted to write something to remember it by. So here it is.

One of the main themes that proved prominent throughout the performance was the clash between uneasy subjects and humour. On a few occasions I felt an urge to laugh, which was then prevented by social convention and etiquette. For instance, the coffin of Jack’s brother was used as a bar for the majority of the performance. Although this isn’t out-rightly funny the peculiarity and the strangeness of the whole concept made me feel uneasy. Uneasy enough that the only reaction that felt suitable was laughter. After time the coffin was forgotten and appeared just a normal bar. When I’d remember that it was in fact holding a dead body I returned to my uncomfortable state. The spilling and exchanging of drinks across a person’s body just looked wrong. Offensive.

Again the confusion between seriousness and humour is evident when the young girl was tied up to a chair and about to be tortured. The actions and comments of the man caused the audience to actually laugh this time. However this was short lived as as soon as they realised their own laughter they stopped. Was this a natural way to cope with the trauma of the stage space? Or was the director hinting at bigger issues in comedy, and the subjects of comedy.

Altogether the play was fantastic and I recommend seeing it, even for the set alone. These images, however, still sit uncomfortably in my mind. Maybe writing this will help settle my conscience or maybe it just adds to the problem.


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