Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Pitmen Painters....

....I took Kelly to the Duchess Theatre to see this North East based show. I had first seen it in 2008, in it's original run at the Live Theatre in Newcastle.

Critical acclaim followed and Lee Hall's play got the West End run it deserved - first at the National Theatre, and now in it's final string of performances in the heart of Covent Garden.

Having seen it before didn't ruin any of the play for me - indeed it is almost entirely the same cast from the Newcastle days. And what a cast. The play is inspired by William Feaver's book about a real life group of painters, (formed in 1934), called the Ashington Group. All pitmen, they gathered weekly over what became a thirty year period to learn art appreciation under the tutelage of Robert Lyon, (played by Ian Kelly), a well to do former Royal College artist.

The group, much to their surprise, received critical acclaim from the likes of Henry Moore, leading to exhibitions in across the country. Over time praise faded and their brief, but impactful foray in to art drew to a close.

The play itself fantastic. The Geordie dialect is strong throughout, so be sure to tune your ears in! It is equally laugh out loud funny, as it is poignant and moving. It also provides an insightful perspective on the study of art and the rise of capitalism at that time.

For me, it is a must see play. The performances throughout are inspired and it reminded me of my love for theatre, my love for this play and my love for the North East.

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