THINGS didn’t start well for Robert Lyon, giving a WEA lecture on the history of art to Geordie miners in the Thirties.
“Leonardo da Vinci, is he a painter?” asks one. “Did he do that one of cats?” says daft Jimmy.
Exasperated, Lyon ditches his slides and gets his students painting. He finds raw talent and so begins the Ashington Group.
Writer Lee Hall, who had a thumping great hit with Billy Elliot, mines a seam of laughs with this story of artist-miners taken up by the Intelligentsia and High Society : think Auf Wiedersehen Pet with easels.
It’s an ensemble piece with juicy parts but mention must go to Nicholas Lumley, as the rule book thumbing George with a touch of Alf Garnett , Louis Hilyer as opportunistic Lyon, Donald McBride as the simple Jimmy and Peter Correia as talented Oliver.
It gets a little preachy at times but you’ll go home laughing and wishing you had a Pitmen painting on your walls.
On until Saturday.