Writer: Torben Betts
Director: Lorne Campbell
Reviewer: Rachel Watson
Intense, gritty, tenacious, fantastic – these are just some of the words you could use to describe Northern Stage’s production of Torben Betts’ Get Carter.
The two and a half hour play is based on Ted Lewis’ novel Jack’s Return Home, the inspiration for both this play and the 1971 film. It follows Jack Carter on a crusade to discover what really happened to his recently deceased brother, whose death was ruled an accident due to his drink driving. Kevin Wathen is a fantastic Jack, bringing the desperation of a grieving sibling to life, unravellingnew layers of himself the further he delves into the increasingly gripping mystery.
Wathen’s portayal of Jack’s slow breakdown throughout the play is difficult to watch at times, as he grieves for his brother, attempts to find out what really happened, and deals with the fact that he feels it should have been him in the coffin.
Out of the seven person cast, every single actor on the stage shone, everyone having a chance to show their superb acting abilities, some through various character changes.
Jack’s brother Frank appears on stage for a large portion of the show, however he does not speak at all, simply there as a ghostly figure to Jack and his decision maker. He also provides the music throughout, as Jack talks about Frank’s dream of becoming a jazz drummer.
It would be difficult to find a quote from this play to put in a family friendly review, as almost every sentence uttered in the show unapologetically contains swearing, but to be quite honest it only added to the grittiness of the story and of the characters.
A review of this play would be incomplete without mentioning the set, the hundreds of bricks piled up on stage, reminiscent of the novel’s roots in the north of England in the late 1960s, is incredible to look at, and gives an insight into the harsh realities of the time and the place the play is set.
Runs until 12 March 2016 | Image:Topher McGill