Tuesday, July 23

The Syndicate – Floral Pavilion

Have you ever wondered what it would be like, if you won a share of £24 million?

For fans of the late, great Kay Mellor’s television series ‘The Syndicate’ this is the perfect chance to see a new version of the show, created especially for the stage. A story that follows previous series, but with different characters and twists along the way. We are introduced to Denise, Leanne, Jamie, Stuart and Bob who work at a local supermarket, that has just been bought out by a larger chain. In typical The Syndicate style, Stuart is late on his payments for the staff syndicate, and this is mentioned on numerous occasions throughout the first act. Brothers Jamie and Stuart are both struggling for money – Jamie for drug-related purposes and Stuart due to his expanding family. They decide to rob the store, using Stuart’s son’s toy gun, while he is cashing up, with Jamie as the thief. Again, in the usual The Syndicate storyline, it goes horribly wrong, and the manager Bob ends up in the hospital. The same night is the night the syndicate wins the lottery, and the members have to decide whether Stuart is entitled to his share or not.

While it was written by Kay Mellor, there are moments that didn’t feel fully natural and fit in with the rest of the play, due to awkwardness… However, this did not detract from the play as a whole.

In true Mellor style, her youngest daughter Gaynor Faye directs the production and is also the representative from the lottery, aptly named Kay – which was a lovely touch to her mother. Samantha Giles was Denise, the syndicate manager, and I am ashamed to admit it took a while into the first act to realise it was her – which I think is a testament to her acting, along with the direction and wardrobe departments, but she definitely came into her own in the second act and got to shine as the actress we know and love. Rosa Coduri-Fulford is Leanne, and you can tell from the start that this character is hiding something, but you grow to feel for her and her situation. William Ilkley is Bob and is cast perfectly. You are genuinely worried about him after the robbery and the journey his character embarks upon, is truly heartwarming at the end. Benedict Shaw and Oliver Anthony as Stuart and Jamie respectively, convincingly give off a brotherly vibe between them. Anthony (Faye’s son – it is a family affair!) is the stereotypical lads lad, especially in act 2. Shaw is definitely a man in turmoil throughout the production, but you get to see a range of what he can do, from anger to empathy and everything in between. Brooke Vincent is Stuart’s girlfriend Amy and, considering the show is sold on the basis of her, Faye and Giles, I definitely thought she would be in the show more. You are not a fan of Amy and the final scene of just her is very empowering and emotional at the same time. Jerome Ngonadi as Detective Chief Inspector Newall, brings entertainment during the scenes where he spars with Jamie, almost as a battle of wits (when only one side has the wits – and it’s not Jamie!) The cast all work together and create a super fun show for the audience.

I thought there would be more to the set, but it felt very basic at times, with some clever moments to showcase different settings. It was not what a lot of people would expect after the success of the television drama, but again, it doesn’t detract enough from the entertainment of the evening.

The Syndicate is at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton until 16th May. Get tickets from www.floralpavilion.com/event/the-syndicate/ 

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 13th May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.