Gemma Hirst

Journalism Graduate/ Culture Blogger/ Podcaster 

As part of the Chronicle Live Young Reviewers Competition, these are some of my theatre reviews that were published in the paper and online. 

Review: Dancing at Lughnasa at the People's Theatre in Newcastle

This is a play that tells the story through the memories of a seven-year-old boy, Michael. The five Mundy sisters scrape a living near the village of Balleybeg. The lives of the five sisters are changed forever by the arrival of their brother, Father Jack, a disturbed priest who has returned from 25 years of missionary work in Africa. I was looking for a climatic event in the story and couldn’t really find one. It was written beautifully by Brian Friel and the cast did a fantastic job portray

Preview: Gee, But It’s Good To Be Here! Trent House, Newcastle

We all know Ethel Merman for her sensational debut in 1930s Girl Crazy. She was the star of Broadway musical comedy, and as a leading lady of a whopping 13 original musicals she disregarded the stereotypical image of an entertainer. Instead she introduced theatre goers to more of a gutsy experience. If you could meet Ethel Merman for just one more time, this new production lets us do just that. Billed as the greatest ‘Audience With’ that never was, it lifts the lid on the career of the large

Review: Cats at the Sunderland Empire

Having  seen this  musical only once before – on an  old video – I couldn’t wait to see it performed live. Cats, as I’m sure you’re all aware, is about a gathering of Jellicle cats, who  meet  once a year to see who is going to be reborn into a new Jellicle life. Now these cats are feline, furious, faithful and true and  at Sunderland Empire they were full of razzmatazz. I have never seen a cast of 22 so enthusiastic about wearing a striped, furry onesie to dance and prance around in.

Review: Cinderella On Ice at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle

The Russian Ice Stars bring the fantasy of the well-known story of Cinderella to life on this visit to the Theatre Royal. It’s the much-loved story of a poor girl who works in her family’s tavern, under the watchful eye of her stepmother and the ugly sisters. All of a sudden Cinders is whisked away by a fairy godmother to fulfil her dream of a happy ending. Production company Wild Rose takes the characters off the   page on to a clean, white slate of ice. Gliding into the enchanting worlds of

Review: Save The Last Dance For Me, Theatre Royal, Newcastle

SAVE The Last Dance For Me certainly took my mind off all this bad weather we’ve been having, and brightened up my night. Set in the summer of 1963, two sisters, Jennifer and Marie, go on their first holiday away from their parents to Lowestoft. It is home to chips, candy floss and dodgy caravans – and an American army base. Jennifer’s little sister Marie falls in love with Curtis (Kieran McGinn), an American pilot, who happens to be black in a time of racial prejudice. We follow their story

Review: 42nd Street at the Sunderland Empire

I WAS transported back to 1933, an era full of music, jazz and sequins. The residents of the Big Apple are still recovering from the Wall Street crash but as they say in Broadway, the show must go on. Like all young kids in the 1930s, they all have a dream to be a star and Peggy Sawyer won’t let anything get in her way. 42nd Street is a play within a play, we watch the politics of 1930s Broadway unfold, while the audience sit back and relax; the company of Pretty Lady rehearse until their feet

Review: Grease at the Theatre Royal Newcastle

TELL me more, tell me more! Grease certainly was love at first sight and the audience didn’t put up a fight. I was transported to Rydell High School in the 50s and it was as if I was a student there – eating a twinkie and doing the hand jive instead of being a geek and collecting leaves for my bio class. The musical had the audience’s toes a-tapping, it also had me out of breath and I congratulate the cast for keeping the energy levels up.