Theatre Review: Eric’s Italian Job @The New Vic

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The New Vic begins its autumn season in what has now become a traditional manner. The Eric franchise has rolled into town with another evening of musical mayhem and mirth.

Always set in the 1960s, the Eric evenings continue to find something to parody and this time it is the cult film The Italian Job that gets the Graham treatment.

Eric (David Graham) becomes an inadvertent witness to the Great Train Robbery of 1963. When he tells his friend Gordon (David Lonsdale of Heartbeat fame) of what he saw, Eric is advised to contact the police – especially considering the size of the reward on offer.

The erstwhile hero is contacted by Slapper of the Yard (Stephen Chapman) who is probably the world’s worst ever detective and Eric is enlisted to go to Turin where it is believed that some key members of the Mail Train Gang are involved in a plot to steal gold bullion and they can be identified.

The potential robbery has been organised by Charlie (Alan Howell) who along with Fingers (Kenny Davies) and Scott the Drummer (Scott Ottaway) are waiting for the opportunity to pull off the heist in rooms owned by Olivia Maserati (Carly Cook).

The would-be bank robbers are joined by Gordon’s friend Terry (Harvey James) who has hit hard times and has turned to a life of crime – much to the concern of his daughter Julie (Georgia Gagen) who is desperate to prevent him getting into trouble.

The scene is set for a night of riotous fun with the famous film re-enacted in hilarious fashion including a much-scaled down version of the famous car chase that has the audience rocking with laughter.

Eric’s productions are always much anticipated and have become a must-see for many regular theatregoers from North Staffordshire and beyond and it was good to see that new generations are being introduced to the theatrical phenomenon that is Eric. Members of the audience ranged from early teens upwards and all were up on their feet enjoying the experience.

Many of the gags may be corny but they come thick and fast and, alongside classic music from the 60s, it is very difficult to leave the theatre without the toes tapping and with a huge smiley face.

It was excellent to hear new titles added to the repertoire and to see a few new faces to the cast. David Graham has a pool of talent to choose from when arranging his line ups but what is guaranteed is that whoever is able to join the fun maintains the high level of entertainment on offer. Every cast member had a part to play in the fun and frolics and was able to use their musical and vocal talents to the utmost.

David Graham has a huge fan base and many tickets are quickly snapped up. If you are yet to learn what the fuss is all about, I encourage you to take the first step into his crazy world. Like many, you could become severely addicted but you honestly won’t regret it.

Eric’s Italian Job has a running time of approximately 2 hours 45 minutes including interval and continues until September 2nd. For ticket information contact 01782 717962 or tickets@newvictheatre.org.uk