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the syndicate artwork

All about theatre four star review

The Syndicate is an exciting new comedy-drama that is based on the immensely popular BBC TV series created by the talented Kay Mellor. The TV series captivated audiences over four series, and the play revisits the engaging storyline of the show's first series. Building on the tremendous success of Kay Mellor's previous stage adaptations, such as 'Band of Gold' and 'Fat Friends', The Syndicate represents the highly anticipated world premiere of Kay Mellor’s final stage play. Directed by her daughter, the multi-talented Gaynor Faye, who also takes on a starring role in the play, the production features a stellar cast that includes well-known soap stars like Samantha Giles from Emmerdale and Brooke Vincent from Coronation Street.

the syndicate production photo

The play follows five employees of the local convenience store Right Buy U: manager Bob, and store assistants Denise, Leanne, and brothers Stuart and Jamie, who are all part of the works lottery syndicate. Stuart, facing financial difficulties, lives with his parents along with his pregnant girlfriend Amy. However, due to conflicts with Stuart's mother, Amy moves to her parents' house with their young son and refuses to reunite with Stuart until he finds them a flat to live in. Under pressure to secure a home for his family, Stuart hatches a plan with his wayward brother Jamie to rob the store. Their plan goes awry when manager Bob interrupts them and Jamie hits him over the head with a bottle of whisky. Bob is rushed to the hospital in critical condition, and DCI Newell of the Yorkshire police begins investigating. The situation becomes more complicated when the next morning, the works lottery syndicate learns that they have won the £24 million jackpot. However, Stuart's share of the money depends on Bob's vote, as he hasn't paid his lottery money for the last 5 weeks.

the syndicate production photo

The set designed by Bretta Gerecke, for the first act, showcased the convenience store's shop floor where the syndicate works. Alongside the shop floor, two downstage rooms—the manager's office and the staff room—magically appear as they are illuminated when necessary. The staff room also serves as a hospital ward at certain points. Post-interval, the audience is introduced to a second set depicting the opulent, rented home of Stuart and Amy, symbolising the lottery winners' extravagant new lifestyle. I found the set to be colourful, functional, and effective despite its simplicity. The costumes also designed by Bretta Gerecke were impressive, mirroring the characters' lifestyle shift from the mundane and somber in the first act to vibrant and striking in the second, visually encapsulating the characters' metamorphosis.

the syndicate production photo

Benedict Shaw shines as Stuart, delivering a compelling portrayal of a young man with a conscience striving to make the right choices, eliciting empathy from the audience. Oliver Anthony, Kay Mellor’s grandson, debuts on stage as Jamie, Stuart's "jack-the-lad" younger brother. Jamie is a charming scoundrel, and Anthony embodies this mischievous character with aplomb. Samantha Giles portrays Denise, the slightly frumpy and naive store assistant, landing some of the best comic lines with impeccable timing. Rosa Coduri-Fulford takes on the role of Leanne, a character wrestling with her past, which she slowly unveils to Stuart; Coduri-Fulford gives a nuanced and subtle performance. William Ilkley has been aptly cast as the affable Supermarket Manager, Bob.

Brooke Vincent assumes the role of Amy, Stuart’s girlfriend, infusing the part with humour and creating memorable comic scenes. The principal cast is rounded out by Gaynor Faye, who delivers a robust performance as Kay, the lottery company's representative, shepherding the winners through the process.

The syndicate production photo

The Syndicate is an enthralling, fast-paced play that captivates with its sharp writing, wit, and humour. The characters are relatable, and the plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. It leaves the audience with a profound message: that money can't buy you happiness.

The Syndicate is on at The Lowry until Sunday 19th May 2024, you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the show and see where it will be touring to please click the button below for the show's official website.

Photo Credit - Craig Sugden

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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