Gazette reporter plays key role in local drama

Shields Gazette entertainment reporter Chris Robinson made his theatre debut as part of an investigation into life behind the scenes.

Robinson appeared at South Shields Pier Pavilion in modern-day farce My Friend Miss Flint by Donald Churchill and Peter Yeldham about a celebrity gardener's tax dodge and his scheme to avoid the Inland Revenue. The play was reviewed by playwright Ed Waugh and attended by his colleagues at the Gazette.

Waugh's review read: "Chris really put himself on the line and it's a relief and pleasure to say his performance was very good — impressive, in fact." The comedy ran for a week and was a hit at the box office.

Robinson, who played the bogus tax inspector, Mr Dodds, said: "The reason I decided to do this was to show readers how difficult it can be staging an amateur play, and how it takes a lot of unpaid time and effort.

"On my first night, the adrenaline was pumping, but surprisingly I didn't feel that nervous until the curtain went up.

"Thankfully, all the weeks of auditioning, losing cast members, gaining cast members, not being able to rehearse on stage, losing more cast members and getting lost in my lines paid off.

"The feeling of coming off stage at the end of the first act was just amazing. I was still shaking during the interval because it went so well — including my stage kiss."

In the run-up to his debut, Robinson produced a weekly column entitled Chris's Curtain Call, revealing to readers what it is like behind the scenes.

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