"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" and "Not many people know that" may be two of Sir Michael Caine's most famous lines, from 'The Italian Job' and 'Educating Rita' respectively (you knew that), but his iconic turns in 'Alfie' and 'Get Carter' were arguably his defining roles.
Whilst in Alfie and The Italian Job, Caine played chirpy East End types, in Get Carter he was the nasty London-based northern gangsta Jack Carter. The northerner returns to his hometown following the death of his brother Frank in mysterious circumstances and, against an extraordinarily grim and brutal backdrop, becomes embroiled in the dark criminal underworld of England's north-east coast.
At times very violent, the film - adapted from Ted Lewis' best-selling novel - was initially poorly received, with critics labelling it 'soulless' and a 'sado-masochistic fantasy'. But time has been kinder and Get Carter is now considered something of a classic, widely praised for its 'gritty realism'.
On the film's 40th anniversary, Jonathan Holloway has adapted Lewis' novel for the stage and, along with director James Weisz, faces the not inconsiderable challenge of recreating the bleak menace of sixties Newcastle (relocated 133 miles south to Scunthorpe for this adaptation) in The Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton.
Get Carter is running at The Courtyard from 19th to 24th July 2011. Tickets are available now, priced £12.50 (£10 concessions).
Following the success of the July run, Get Carter is back in Hoxton at the Courtyard for a four night run from Thursday 22nd September to Sunday 25th. Tickets are on sale now, priced at £12.50 (£10 for concessions).