Get Carter, Richmond Theatre, review: ‘a punish tragedy that’s not terrifying enough’

March 16, 2016 - Finding Carter

The adaptation and instruction of this theatre chronicle of a famous punish story let it down, notwithstanding clever performances, says Jane Shilling

Jack’s Return Home isn’t accurately a poignant pretension for a book about a heartless underworld of organized crime. But remade into a 1971 film with a catchier pretension of Get Carter, and Michael Caine delivering a memorably chilling opening as a malicious anti-hero, Ted Lewis’s novel about a mafiosi questioning a ghastly resources of his brother’s genocide became a cult success.

Torben Betts’s new dramatisation for Northern Stage earnings to Lewis’s strange content – in a programme note he admits he hadn’t seen a film when he embarked on a project. The Carter brothers, Jack and his elder sibling, Frank, are a twin poles of Betts’s adaptation. Both are roughly constantly on stage, yet while Jack never stops talking, Frank, being dead, never utters, yet he does a good understanding of nifty jazz pitter-patter (Martin Douglas turns in a formally moribund opening of percussive virtuosity). 

There are intimations that Jack has disgusted of crime and skeleton a new life in South Africa. But before he goes, he has scores to settle. Returning to his northern home town, he sets about anticipating his brother’s murderers in sequence to revenge his death, a goal that causes augmenting fluster among a internal villains. They are good wakeful that behind Frank’s hideous genocide lies a grave bestiary of even some-more terrible secrets.

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