Chalet Lines, Newcastle Live Theatre.


Four years ago, I was treated to a showing of ‘Me and Cilla’ by playwright Lee Mattinson.

I remember the intelligence with which the play was written, combining humour with poignancy as well as a realistic representation of working class life. When I found out ‘Chalet Lines’ was written by Mr Mattinson, I was suitably excited.

Set in Butlins, Skegness, ‘Chalet Lines’ is an exploration of one family’s female relationships, spanning five decades. Initially starting with a party to celebrate Nana Barbara’s seventieth birthday, ‘Chalet Lines’ jumps backwards and forwards in time, considering the reasons for this particular family’s dysfunctional relationships. Why hasn’t Paula, Barbara’s daughter, turned up for the party? Why is granddaughter Abigail playing an imaginary keyboard?

I really enjoyed ‘Chalet Lines’ and thought the cast did a brilliant job. Sharon Percy as the at times despicable Loretta gave the performance her all and Sammy T Dobson provided much of the comic relief as Jolene. I thought the casting of Donald McBride was inspired.

What I love about Lee Mattinson’s writing is his ability to combine belly laughs alongside misery and emotions. I found that there was a lot of ambiguity in the play, with allusions made to certain things but left to the audience to make their own conclusions.
Lee has a real knack for demonstrating the intricacies of human relationships. His portrayals are realistic and don’t shy away from packing a punch.

There’s plenty of strong language in this play but it is totally worth a watch. ‘Chalet Lines’ is on at Live Theatre until Saturday 6 October.

By Vic on September 16, 2012

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