Walking through the Haymarket Metro Station yesterday my attention was drawn to an illuminated poster advertising Day of the Flymo, about to begin its second run at the Live Theatre, Newcastle. The lead role in the play (by Paddy Campbell) is taken by Rytonian Kalem Patterson. Last year a relation suggested that we go to see Paddy’s first play, Wet House, at Live. We loved it, and so too his next play Flymo, which we saw earlier this year. I wrote about Kalem here, because the programme notes told me he’s from Ryton, and so I resolved to follow his career. A few hours after publishing, friends got in touch to tell me that Kalem is the son of two of my work colleagues, Annette and Tony, something of which I had no idea, so it was great to see the Flymo poster in Newcastle yesterday, particularly as I had arranged to meet up with Kalem this afternoon ahead of his first night this coming Thursday.
Fourteen year old Kalem is a pupil at St. Thomas Moore, Blaydon and to his knowledge none of his teachers have been to see him on stage, something which I find astonishing, bearing in mind his undoubted talent, the quality of this Live Theatre production, and the likelihood that they have a future famous alumni in their midst. Kalem enjoys X Box gaming, music, weight training and exercise, and caring for his three family dogs. Acting is his first love however. He is a former member of the Tyne Theatre Stage School, and he has appeared in professional productions at Whitley Bay Playhouse, and Newcastle Theatre Royal, including Evita and Oliver. Beyond Flymo he hopes to take major roles in future plays, and to pursue a full-time acting career when he is older.
Both school and acting are very demanding. Kalem is fully aware of the importance of his studies, but he points out that the professionals at Live spend a lot of time and money on first class productions, and he feels it’s his duty always to give 100% to repay the faith they have in him. Watching him on stage, you would never imagine that he would ever get stage fright, but Kalem says that it does happen, however this is an indication that actors care about their craft.
The Flymo script is approximately 68 pages long, and Kalem learnt it in blocks of about 15 pages at a time. He’s good at memorising, so it only took him a couple of weeks. Both Tony and Annette help him at home by reading the other parts. I asked Kalem if any other aspects of the theatre interested him, and he said that at some point in the future he might like to try his hand at directing, but for now he prefers to be on stage – and it’s a good thing for us that he does. Heather and I are seeing Flymo for the second time later this week.
Day of the Flymo by Paddy Campbell and directed by Paul James runs from Thursday 12th November until Saturday 21st November. It follows the chaotic lives of some young people and the mechanisms that swing into action when social services step in. The play, which was awarded four stars by the Guardian, is shocking, moving, and funny. For further information click on the link here Day of the Flymo . Tickets cost between £12 and £18 with some concessions.