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MAYHEM ENSUES AS CHILDREN'S BOOK COMES TO LIFE.

Tom Gates: Live on Stage! Theatre Royal, Newcastle Review by Tamzin Mackie This show is a sweet treat for fans of Liz Pichon's Tom Gates books about Tom's low points (mainly involving run-ins with teacher Mr Fullerman) and high points (usually in connection with biscuits). Just to be clearany biscuits except fig rolls.

Tom Gates: Live on Stage! is produced by Birmingham Stage Company, which worked closely with writer and illustrator Liz Pichon to create a new story and songs for the stage.

It's a simple tale of a boy played by the lively Matthew Chase, who needs to get rid of some sad faces on his school chart to earn a place on the school trip to the biscuit factory.

The school scenes are pleasantly retro, reminding me of being in a classroom in the 1980s and the home scenes are eccentric cliches where grandparents (fossils) bumble around with cakes and hats.

Liz Pichon's illustrations are snazzily brought to life by clever animated sets and video design by Simon Wainwright, so that the actors appear to be literally stepping in and out of the pages of books.

Tom's sister Delia (Amy Hargreaves) skulks under an animated thunder cloud, a visual straight out of the books, and creating an entire doodle world on stage is a particular success.

The humour is gentle and jokes are a little on the light side, as Tom (not really a natural mischief maker) is really quite earnest. The laughs come from moments such as best friend Norman jumping very fast on the spot or his enemy Marcus asking if 'I can go for a wee wee.' In the interval I asked my son how he scored Tom Gates: Live on Stage! It got 9 out of 10. By the end of the show he marked it a whopping 55 out of 56. A little random, yes, but that's how your brain works when you're 10.

| Tom Gates: Live on Stage! is at the Theatre Royal Newcastle today, at 11am, 2.30pm and 7pm. For tickets visit www.theatreroyal.co.uk/whats-on or call the box office on 08448 11 21 21 (all calls are charged at 7p a minute plus your phone company's access charge, calls from mobiles may vary).

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 29, 2019
Words:382
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