Just how great was Joe Wilson?
This won’t be the first time that Joe Wilson has made a splash in Darlington. In April 1867, he performed at the Darlington Theatre Royal Music Hall and it was noted that: “Wilson introduced popular concert hall entertainment to the Darlington public for the first time.” He had made his professional debut a few years earlier, at Balmbras in Newcastle, December 1864, and within a year was the undisputed superstar of the north-east concert hall. What made him so special were the songs he penned, which took in all aspects of working-class life ranging from love and death to supporting workers on strike. He died aged only 33 but he left behind a startling legacy in his songs, including the classic Keep Your Feet Still, Geordie, Hinny. This inventive production – penned by the estimable Ed Waugh – is set in modern times but flashes back to the 1860s/70s, and stars Micky Cochrane (Catherine Cookson’s Fifteen Streets) as Joe, along with Sarah Boulter, Jordan Miller and Chris Connel. As ever with Waugh’s work you can expect big laughs in with all the drama along with plenty of undoubtedly great songs.
The Great Joe Wilson, Thursday 6-Saturday 8 September, Darlington Hippodrome, 7.30pm (Sat mat. 2.30pm), £12-£22. darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk