The Greatest Show on the Tyne 2017
A jam packed night of entertainment from Chris Cross and friends
6th October – Tyne Theatre and Opera House
We had the pleasure of being invited along to the stunning Tyne Theatre & Opera House this Friday for The Greatest Show on the Tyne.
We were not sure exactly what we were in store for but with twisted Magician and Escapologist Chris Cross fronting this North East Variety Show we knew it was not going to be dull!
We headed into town early and grabbed a quick bite to eat at St Sushi just down the road from the theatre. Bellies full of delicious sushi we headed in to the Tyne Theatre and Opera House. Chris was standing in the foyer chatting to the punters arriving, this was great to see. We grabbed our tickets and headed through to the bar. There were a number of entertainers performing close up magic and escapology tricks in the bar, as well as warm up act Claire-Louise singing on the main stage. This was great to see as the acts and public mixed. This was a feature of the show with amazing access to the acts, and Chris’s friendly and laid-back personality making for a fab access all areas feel to the event.
After watching a few of the tricks in the bar area we headed on in for the main event. The venue was packed and there was a sense of anticipation across the audience as the light dipped ready for the start of the show. The crowd was a real mix, with families, groups, and couples all coming to see the show. The venue is an amazing Grade 1 listed theatre, and you can feel the history of the place. It is alleged that it is haunted, something many of the acts referenced. This stunning building is well worth a visit and a real gem of the north-east.
Chris came on stage and introduced the evening with a few gags, a bit of ribbing the audience members and telling us about the history behind variety acts. The line up was a variety show classic, akin to a cross between a Royal Variety Show and The Paul Daniels Magic Show. Chris Cross kept the whole thing running like clockwork, all the while making it seem natural and slightly improvised.
For those who have not seen him I’d recommend checking out his shows. He is a regular face across the north-east circuit, doing cabaret shows, festivals, street magic, wedding and even hanging upside-down straitjacket escape over 100 ft in the air by his ankles above the roof of Newcastle’s Castle Keep in a tribute stunt to the great Harry Houdini. He is also the owner, artistic director and creator of The Quayside Cabaret Club. A festival veteran he brings comedy to magic and loves a heckle or two from the audience and can give as good as he gets!
Intro over we were treat to the first act, one of the stars of this years panto at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Charlie Richmond. He treat the audience to a few Geordie songs and some banter. Charlie is playing the part of Muddles in Snow White from 8th until 31st of December, for more info click here.
Next up was legendary north-east comedian Bobby Pattinson. Although retired now after many years on stage he was coaxed into action from the crowd by big fan Chris. He chatted a bit about how he started on the scene at just 12 years old when his mother brought him on stage at an appearance at Haswell Social Club in County Durham. He had the crowd in stitches with his jokes and impressions of Geordies in the pub chatting.
Next up was some magic from The Great Aziz. A more traditional magician he came onstage suited up and with a few props on stage. He did not speak or introduce himself and began his act with some classic slight of hand. The audience was captivated from the start, as he wowed them with trick after trick, all flawlessly done with ease. He made balls, cards and candles disappear and reappear with such speed the crowd was amazed, a mix of stunned silence and rapturous applause. The finally of his tricks was making a table levitate and then walking it around the stage and then the audience. It is quite rare these days to see such an act, classic magic, done really well and with such showmanship. The crowd loved it and gave his a huge applause.
Wondering how you could top that the next act would have been forgiven for being nervous but there was no signs of that. It was time for a real change of pace with Acropolis, a medal winning acrobatic group from Deerness Gymnastics Academy. The came out to dramatic music and stunned the audience with some amazing acrobatic feats. A mix of amazement, excitement and danger they got huge reaction as they performed some terrifying and mind-boggling manoeuvres across the stage. The three girls demonstrated strength and power as they balanced precariously over the stage without any mats or safety equipment. This was mixed with a unique style, energy and creative flair. They left to a huge ovation from the crowd.
The next act was a change of pace again and brought a truly bizarre and memorable twist to the line-up. The Pan Man, Singing Dalek Impressions from BGT Semi-Finals! Skipton’s Martyn Crofts came out on stage too much applause. Many obviously recognised him from the hit TV show but I had never heard of him. That’s not to say I’ll every forget what came next.
Simon Cowell said his act was “Arguably the most stupid act I’ve ever seen on this show. It is insane beyond belief and I’m urging Doctor Who fans not to vote you through because at the end of the day we’ve got to write a cheque for half a million quid and put an act in front of the Royal family and they don’t want to see that.”
He came out and banged out three well-known songs in his own unique style…in Dalek! The audience loved it and it was hard not to get caught up in the infectious laughter as he walked around the crowd singing with a glitter covered pan on his head!
The next act was Rosy Bloomers, a classic circus hula hoop act. She stunned the crowd as she twirled countless hoops with consulate ease.
With the first half coming to a close Chris Cross returned and performed his escapology trick from the top of a rickety looking stage prop with a trap door above knives. For this he required the help of his lovely assistant Claire and two members of the audience. I think it was when Chris was at his best, ribbing the audience members, making them feel genuinely awkward and bouncing off their reactions. He got them to chain him up, with handcuffs, chains and padlocks before stepping up onto the prop. For those of you familiar with Chris you might have seen him perform this on Northumberland Street back in his street performing days. It was a real crowd pleaser as we counted down for him to escape in 60 seconds. Of course he managed to do it but had the crowd wondering if he was going to, his brand of humour and laid-back style making you question if he would do it or had bitten off more than he can chew. He survived of course, popping his shoulders out to a gasp from some audience members as he escaped the chains just in time.
We filtered through to the bar for the interlude and grabbed some drinks as the people performing close up magic and escapology tricks returned to entertain the punters.
The second half was kicked off by The Postmodernaires, a seven piece band from the North East, they had the crowd swinging as the performed some well known hits from the old days. They were amazing to watch and brought the house down.
With the crowd in full swing it was then time for Chris to perform another big trick of escapology. This was another crowd pleaser and hilarious to see set up, his banter with assistant Claire had the audience in fits of laughter.
The second half was jam packed with acts as many returned for a second showing, with more amazing magic from The Great Aziz, aerial feats of daring from Rosey Bloomers and her troop, adventurous acrobatics from Acropolis and more.
They were joined by the hilarious Finbar Healy Comedian, singer Junior Turner who stunned the crowd with his performance, as well as an absolutely amazing belly dancing, fire twirling extravaganza from Voodoo Tuesday.
The crowd and acts were in absolute fits of laughter as The Great Aziz’s white dove landed on Charlie Richmond’s head, much to his surprise!
It was a great show, with a warm and fun fell to it all. It came to an amazing end with a standing ovation from the crowd as the acts assembled on stage to soak in the applause.
I would definitely recommend The Greatest Show on the Tyne as it has something for everyone and is perfect for kids, families and adults alike. There may be a little adult humour later on and the odd swear word but nothing too bad and all in context. The acts are so varied and a real treat to see, as variety goes you could not ask for much more to be honest. The Tyne Theatre and Opera House is celebrating its 150 year anniversary this year and is proving variety shows still have a place in the modern entertainment industry. He’s hoping for another 150 years of entertainment and shows like this.