Steven Blakeley & David Lonsdale

Steven Blakeley as Pc Geoff Younger and David Lonsdale as David Stockwell

Heartbeat

The New Alexandra Theatre

****

IT’S been six years since Heartbeat left the UK screens after an impressive run of 18 years and 377 episodes.

Its devoted following of fans were drawn to the criminal tales set in the fictitious town of Ashfordly with a back drop of the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire’s North Riding.

Unlike the big leading detective stories of its time, such as Morse, Heartbeat was centred on the more mundane life of the local beat policeman.

This stage version, written by David Lonsdale, is once again based on the novels of writer Nicholas Rhea. Its story reflects the quaint village life of a north rural town interrupted by the arrival of some kind of wrong doing.

Here this time, village life is brought to a highly charged moment when a potential IRA bomber arrives secretly on the run. Taken in by the locals all is not as it seems as some shady London characters are now after him.

Counter this with the comical comings and goings of gentle village folk and you pretty much have the basis of every story in the Heartbeat series.

The production features several of the original cast members who over the years contributed to the series. David Lonsdale got a round of applause for just appearing for a few seconds with fishing rod which is a mark of the programmes popularity. David’s character of David Stockwell provided the buffoonery of comical village life throughout the evening.

Matt Milburn took on the role of PC Joe Malton and cruised through the evening questioning every stranger he faced. The pub landlady Gina was played by Carly Cook  and featured in many of the scenes with David Horne in the role of Bernie facing up to the trials and tribulations of life behind the public house bar .

Steven Blakely was the other long serving original cast member playing PC Geoff Younger who over the years manged to rack up over a hundred episodes on the TV series.  

Erin Geraghty was Annie the local spinster with a keen pair of binoculars. The violent tension was provided by Callum O’Neill as Aidan the possible IRA Bomber and Jason Griffiths as James Sheedy his pursuant.

At times the music, which was so popular in the TV series, becomes a little overbearing, but with its revolving set and simple changing backdrops this production goes a long way to recreating the charming flavour of the original TV series. The contrast between the comedy and the drama still works and it’s easy to see why this very English blend of detective work, local characters and scenery became so popular. To 02-04-16

Jeff Grant

29-03-16 

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