Comical, but also at times addressing more serious plotlines, Heartbeat is an entertaining television programme turned play. The characters add to the country-like feel with their Yorkshire accents and chatter about the latest drama in the village. The set is ingeniously placed on a rotating platform and switches between scenes seamlessly, keeping the performance flowing.
The audience interaction is incredible. Everyone is singing along and tapping their feet to the different 60s tracks played during scene changes. David Lonsdale from the original TV programme reprises his role as David Stockwell in this play and enters the stage to cheering, clapping and stamping feet. In fact, this audience interaction continues throughout the play and adds to the community feeling of a small rural village.
There is drama, although it doesn’t really build to a climax. But the double act between David and PC Geoff Younger (Steven Blakeley) keeps the pace of the play and is the more engaging part of this performance.
The actors are superb, especially Carly Cook as main character Gina Bellamy, since she only graduated in 2013. David does not take presence or attention away from other characters, as all of them work together in the story and all prove to have a significant purpose. The music changes according to the mood on stage, creating an obvious theme whilst still sticking to the 60s era. Some of the accents on stage could be better, though, especially Callum O’Neill‘s Irish accent as Aidan McGuire, which did keep slipping at points.
There are issues raised surrounding the Irish troubles. This is done subtly at first, giving little bits of information, until revealing its whole link to the plot. This is done effectively and creates suspense on stage; however the “climax” takes away the mystery that had been building up. Heartbeat is exceptionally done, but a few areas drag or take away the mood of the play.