Helen Cash, Jonathan Cash and Tom Kelly
October 2018 sees the premiere of a new play by celebrated North East writer, Tom Kelly. Baby Love Productions are touring his new play Love Songs to 4 venues in the region, premiering at The Customs House, South Shields on 15 October.
Tom Kelly is well-known throughout the region for his plays and musicals. His work is often featured at the Customs House, where his most recent works The Dolly Mixtures and Geordie The Musical, played to rapturous houses, justly earning standing ovations every night. His one-man play, I Left My Heart In Roker Park also played to packed houses, winning a WOW award, and Tom was a finalist in the Writer of the Year category in the Journal Culture Awards for Geordie. In 2016 Baby Love Productions toured his play with 60s songs, Baby Love, which was a favourite with audiences. As North East Theatre Guide said, “Baby Love benefits from an insightful script, good music and charismatic acting.”
The new play also features an array of classic songs, such as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Somewhere, True Love Ways, Love Me Tender & Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. These songs are performed by the two protagonists as part of a 60s tribute tour.
The play deals with themes of mental health and domestic abuse as the two lead characters face up to their own demons to have a chance at building a life together. Meanwhile the play features the quirky characters that people the tribute tour, some of them unable to separate themselves from the icons they portray, with often comical consequences.
Tom wrote the play for his friends, and next-door neighbours, real-life married couple, Helen and Jonathan Cash, after initially working with them on a revival of his play, Baby Love. Jonathan, who both directs and acts in the play, explained, “We had a great time working with Tom on Baby Love and had the joy of experiencing at first hand the emotional impact his writing has on audiences. It’s the authenticity of his characters and the depth of feeling he brings to his writing that makes his work so satisfying, both to watch and to perform. There’s always a mix of drama and comedy that makes the work real and engaging. When he said he was writing a new piece especially for us, we were, naturally, delighted. It’s a privilege to have a play written for us by one of the region’s foremost playwrights. We’re just extremely lucky he happens to be our friend. Also living just next door makes it really easy to get together for rehearsals.”
Jonathan admits the play has its challenges, “We have to perform songs made famous by the greatest singers of the 60s, including Dusty Springfield, Elvis, Gene Pitney and Marvin Gaye, plus we’re taking on the notoriously challenging Bridge Over Troubled Water. No small task, but really rewarding. It’s the mix of the powerful script and these terrific songs that I think will make the show so satisfying for audiences. We also get to play some lovely comic characters along the way.”
Tom Kelly said, “I’m delighted my new play will premiere at The Customs House, my favourite theatre and spiritual home. It’s also playing at 3 other super venues around the region in Washington, Middlesbrough and Seaton Delaval. After the success of Baby Love’s tour, I wanted to write something to capitalise on the talents of Helen and Jonathan and, as they are both singers as well as actors, it seemed a shame not to use that. Also, I love these songs and tribute tours are the bread and butter of many of our local theatres nowadays. It seemed very current to use that as a background to address subjects like mental health and the impact of domestic abuse in a believable and ultimately positive way. I believe audiences will respond to that. ”
Click here to see a short video sampler of the play produced by Unified Media.
The play opens at The Customs House South Shields on Monday 15 October, https://www.customshouse.co.uk/theatre/love-songs-/
Before moving on to:
Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 18 October, http://www.artscentrewashington.co.uk/production-details.aspx?id=1193
Middlesbrough Theatre on Tuesday 23 October https://www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk/shows/love-songs/
And Seaton Delaval Arts Centre on Saturday 27 October. https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/226108
For more details, see https://babyloveproductions.co.uk