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Am Dram round-up for West Midlands and Shropshire

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

There is nothing like the feeling that all the romance and excitement of the festive season is just around the corner and what better way to get into the yuletide mood than a good old-fashioned Christmas musical!

Miracle on 34th Street coming to the New Alexandra Theatre

My home group, South Staffs MTC performed White Christmas in December 2015, which was not only an absolute delight to perform in, but also broke all box office records for an amateur company performing at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

So, bring on the versions of A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, Scrooge and the like, I love them all!

Or what about Miracle on 34th Street the musical? That is one show that is not performed very often and yet has all the right ingredients for a festive treat. Well, as luck would have it, Birmingham and Midland Operatic Society will be performing it at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from November 14-18.

Based on of the best-loved Christmas movies of all time and featuring a score by Meredith Wilson, writer of The Music Man, the storyline follows single mother Doris, her daughter Susan and their neighbour Fred on a magical journey of love and romance as they set out to find out if Macy’s Department Store’s Kris Kringle is the real Santa Claus.

Although the adults have great parts in this one, the limelight really belongs to the young stars playing Susan, in this case a local young lady, Annabelle Carmichael, who attends the Royal Wolverhampton School and is an accomplished singer, dancer and actress despite her tender years.

Since she was just four years old, Annabelle has attended classes at Stagecoach Wolverhampton and describes it as her second home. She has also done professional work and is represented by Scream Management. Annabelle will share the role with another little star, Willow Heath who is from Redditch.

Pure magic! For tickets visit www.atgtickets.com or call 0844 871 3011

In complete contrast, over at the Wightman Theatre in Shrewsbury, you can catch a production of Green Day’s American Idiot on November 15 at 7.30pm.

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This award-winning Broadway musical is a hard-hitting tale of adolescence and the struggles faced by three young Americans, set to a score featuring some of Green Day’s best compositions, including Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Last of the American Girls, 21 Guns and of course the title song.

Perfect for fans of punk and rock opera alike. For tickets visit www.thewightman.co.uk or call 07808272520.

There’s comedy and fun at Trinity Community Centre, Histon’s Hill in Codsall from November 9-11 as the Histon’s Players present A Lady Mislaid by Kenneth Horne, written back in 1948.

Spinster sisters, Esther and Jennifer are on holiday in a remote country cottage, when things take a dramatic turn when a policeman calls, searching for the body of the former tenant’s wife. Then when a human skeleton is unearthed in a chicken coup, the finger of suspicion points firmly at the previous occupant, Mr. Smith.

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In this production, Gill White from Perton plays Esther, with Caroline Dykes as her sister Jennifer and Andy Pritchard as Bullock, the policeman.

The poor unfortunate Mr Smith is played by Martin Edwards, spokesman for the group who told me that they are also keen to recruit new members. They rehearse on Thursday evenings from 8pm.

So, if you fancy treading the boards and joining this friendly dramatic society, or simply want to book tickets call 07932313625, visit www.histonsplayers.co.uk or the group’s Facebook page.

For their next production, Pattingham Drama Group will be performing two very different one act plays, Blue Remembered Hills by Dennis Potter and The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard.

Potter’s play calls for adults to play children in this tale of childhood innocence, although as the events unfold you will no doubt be shocked at the outcome. In true Potter style, a little dark but with some subtle comedy too.

In contract, Stoppard’s offering is a delightful parody of Agatha Christie’s longest running play, The Mouse Trap, complete with a madman on the loose, various murders and the obligatory police inspector who turns up unexpectedly to solve the cases.

This experienced group has been entertaining local audiences for more than 60 years, but are always keen to attract new members. For more information and to book tickets visit www.pattinghamdramagroup.co.uk or call 01902 700393.

Rugeley Musical Theatre Company, who perform at The Rose Theatre in Rugeley, is presenting Lionel Bart’s classic musical, Oliver! from November 15-18.

When Dickens wrote one of his most famous novels, I doubt he would imagine that over a hundred years later it would have been turned into a film, a musical and play as well as the written word.

This show is a favourite amongst amateur performers as it has room for children, adults and even a dog.

The score oozes classic musical theatre tunes including Consider Yourself, Who Will Buy, Where Is Love? Reviewing the Situation and Food, Glorious Food.

For tickets priced at £12 and £10 and £35 or a family ticket, call 01889 584036 or visit www.rmtcweb.co.uk

Finally this week, are you a taptastic performer? Do you love a bit of syncopation and a timestep? If so, why not join the nationwide tap dancing event, Tapathon 2017, which takes place on November 19, with proceeds going to Children in Need.

Zennor McGuire aims to set a new world record whilst raising funds for this amazing charity, so Inbox her on Facebook within the Theatre Network the Green Room UK group for more information.

Non-dancers are also welcome. It’s never too late to learn.

Well that’s all for this week. Please keep your emails and good quality photographs coming 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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