Review: Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme

Writer:  Charlotte Jones

Director: Gemma Fairlie

Charlotte Jone’s script is farfetched yet highly detailed which allows you to engage and connect.  Each character has an equal amount of baggage and back story to explore and question. Their relationship with each other leads to further exploration and moments of emotional intensity which seamlessly blends with some great examples of dry wit and the play contains a clever cliffhanger for the interval.

Carla Goodman’s awesome set frames the piece cleverly; beautifully symbolising a snowglobe, an item we are quickly introduced as a birthday gift that Josie purchases for her mum Josie for her 50th birthday.

Jemma Churchill plays Josie, a dominatrix who’s celebrating her 50 birthday and at the same time is a little lost in life. Atkinson shares a beautiful warmth with Brenda-Marie (Zara Jayne) and has a natural ability to wind in the natural humour of Jone’s script while exploring the challenging life she’s had recently.

Josie’s OCD cleaner and Catholic Martha (Shelley Atkinson), has a great dry wit. Atkinson’s performance grasps your attention and while from the offset there may be dislike and frustration towards the character, when the layers start to shred there’s a huge sense of warmth towards her.

Jayne is sweet yet strong as Brenda-Marie, since the loss of her twin sister she spends most of her time trying to remain close to her by being in a tent in the back garden and dreaming of being with her representing Canda (and Bolton) in the Olympics. Jayne is central to the takeaway feeling of the play and you’ve got to love her positive view of life and people.

Eamonn Riley plays Lionel, one of Josie’s customers. Riley shows charm, charisma and a real sense of desire to get people thinking about the world the way he looks at it. However, like the rest of the company, beneath that positive experience, there’s a much deeper character who breaks out and it’s really sweet to see that side of him.

This play is powerful, motivational and incredibly funny. Not only does it contain some fantastic natural comedy, but at the same time, it shares some incredible uplifting, emotional moments. This play celebrates life and grabbing it by the horns by focusing on the bonds between people. It’s a beautiful play you can’t help but get emotionally connecting with.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5money*Decision based on a ticket price of £15 + £1 booking fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: