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Your Midlands and Shropshire Am Dram round-up

By Alison Norton | Entertainment | Published:

Casting is the name of the game this week. It is without a doubt the worst task I have to be involved in as a chairperson of a musical theatre company, but also the most satisfying when it’s complete.

With such a huge pool of amateur talent to dip into throughout the Midlands and Shropshire, it should be easy, but travelling, other theatrical commitments and work often play a big part in companies struggling to find the perfect performer for a role.

I have committed my own group to perform the classic musical Top Hat next year, but I am beginning to worry about finding the two performers who will take the leading roles. Not only do they need to be legit tap dancers, a dance genre that few dance schools teach properly these days, but also proficient in ballroom.

l I know you guys are out there. Maybe you are a couple or dance partners, or maybe individuals. Email me at nortonaj@hotmail.co.uk or call 07886194144.

Another group anxious to cast, in order that they can begin rehearsals, is Trinity Musical Theatre Company, who will be performing Bob Carlton’s Shakespearean rock and roll masterpiece Return to the Forbidden Planet at the end of October.

Although the script is based on an ancient piece of literature, it remains fresh and witty, while the score includes unexpected blockbusters such as Great Balls of Fire, Wipe Out, Shake, Rattle and Roll, A Teenager in Love and Johnny B Goode. Given the right casting, this show will bring the house down.

There’s still space on Trinity’s scientific survey spaceship for male crew members, so if you’d like to be part of this musical, exploding across the galaxy with hits from the 50s and 60s, contact Liz Bolas on Facebook or visit www.trinity-mtc.co.uk

Over in Kidderminster at The Rose Theatre, the resident drama group there, The Nonentities, are also casting. This time for two very different productions; Noel Coward’s classic black comedy, Blithe Spirit and John Osborne’s sad and largely autobiographical tale of marital unrest, Look Back in Anger.

This group is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and are keen to recruit new members to join them.

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Blithe Spirit sees socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, invite the eccentric clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance in an attempt to gather information for his next book. Things backfires however when the ghost of his annoying and rather temperamental first wife, Elvira, breaks through. She then insists on disrupting Charles’s marriage to his second wife Ruth who cannot see or hear the ghost, with hilarious consequences.

In total contrast, Look Back in Anger focuses on the life and marital struggles of an intelligent but rebellious working class man young man, Jimmy Porter and his difficult relationship with his upper class wife Alison.

Said to be based on the author’s own marriage to actress Pamela Lane, the play was a hit in London’s West End, turning Osborne from a penniless writer to a celebrity in a very short space of time, which only served to throw his personal life into further disarray.

l Are you a potential Charles Condomine or Jimmy Porter? If so, call 01562 743745 or visit www.rosetheatre.co.uk for more information and to purchase tickets.

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This Sunday, young performers are welcome to join the Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society family, as the group is auditioning for The Workhouse Boys and Fagin’s Gang for their next production, Lionel Bart’s showstopper, Oliver!

They are looking for boys and girls aged between six and 15 to take part in this musical theatre delight.

Having done the show many times myself, I know it’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding, and as a parent whose child is taking part, there is nothing like it. I have done this show twice with my own son, Alastair; once when he was eight when he was part of the gang and again when he was 17 and in the adult ensemble.

Both versions hold very special memories for me and as the show is timeless, many, many more generations of children and parents will be able to experience the very same feelings and memories I have.

l So, if you are an Artful Dodger, a Charlie Bates or an Oliver Twist, contact Sharon Taylor on 07908 248784 or email s-e-t@live.co.uk. Auditions will take place at the Belvidere School.

The Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham is also casting at the moment; for John Godber’s comedy play, Up ‘n Under.

This one is a rugby fan’s delight. Ex-professional rugby star Arthur loves two things in life; his wife and rugby league. When he hears about the Cobblers Arms’pub team and their corrupt manager, Arthur bets his life savings with Reg Welch that he can train any team to beat them, but can only manage to muster up a few players whose pride lies in their unbroken record of defeat. Then along comes their only chance – a brilliant coach. But there is only one thing wrong – she’s a woman.

Will they accept her help and come out on top? As soon as the roles are cast, it won’t be long before you can go along and see for yourself.

The group is looking for four men aged 30-50 and two aged between 20 and 30, as well as a fit women.

l So, if you are ready to go Up ‘n Under visit www.oldjointstock.co.uk or call 0121 200 0946.

l Well that’s all for this week. Please keep sending in all your news together with good quality photos to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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