STAGE REVIEW: Redcoat @ Live Theatre, Newcastle (29.10.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When the lights are lowered and the hushed voices grow silent, all eyes fix upon the stage of Live Theatre, waiting to see the newest iteration of The Six Twenty’s record breaking one-man show, Redcoat.

The stage is practically bare, with props and decorations stripped down to a minimum. Resting centre stage is a single suitcase, yet apart from this, there is nothing.

When the lights roar into action and the music fills the room, there is immediate applause; the stage is filled with colour and sound that seem insurmountable, until the writer and undeniable star of the show sparkles his way onto the stage. With a giddy smile twinkling across his face, the flash and showmanship of Lewis the Redcoat glistens in his eyes, shining with a warm energy that only amplifies when he launches himself into a dance routine.

Instantly setting the tone for the show, Redcoat is tongue-in-cheek theatre personified. Translating the childlike wonder and excitement of pantomimes into something tangibly more nuanced, adult and sustainable, the show is one high octane thrill after another. Smashing through a myriad of infectiously animated dance routines and songs, the show is hell bent on providing an experience that gives its audience the same electric and impassioned love of life that Lewis the Redcoat provides night after night to the children of Butlins.

Redcoat plays as a sketch show set around the adventures of a children’s entertainer. One incident follows a new one, each with increasingly high emotions. The sketches are loosely weaved together by Lewis’ narration that beautifully pace the dynamic of the show. As the tribulations and fatigue of constantly having to entertain boil up, these moments of narration pry open an insight into the emotional strain of the job; the glaring contrast between constant professional optimism and becoming emotionally drained is told with a gentle maturity that slowly teases at the mounting gravitas throughout the show.

In every fibre of the performance there is enthusiasm, charm and passion. As each emotion is addressed with humour and love, the audience feel completely enamoured by the delightfully cheerful Geordie, radiating positivity throughout. For just one man and a suitcase, the show feels overflowing with personality and energy right from the beginning.

With ambition to tour the show, Redcoat is a must see when it returns.

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