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Your weekly Midlands and Shropshire am dram round-up

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

I think the key to keeping am dram groups afloat, besides the obvious financial aspect, is to get youngsters involved – then they’ll hopefully feed into the adult companies as they get older.

Stourbridge Amateur Operatic Society’s youth group

Some do leave home and go to university I guess, but in a lot of cases they return to their original companies once the studies and travels are done.

One group who runs a very successful youth theatre is Stourbridge Amateur Operatic Society. They will be performing 13 The Musical from July 4-6 at Stourbridge Town Hall.

Evan Goldman is about to turn 13, and he can’t wait. His life seems full of possibilities, that is, until his parents get divorced and he is forced to move with his mom from New York to Appleton, Indiana.

If Evan can’t get the coolest kids to come to his bar mitzvah, how is he going to survive the school year, not to mention, the rest of his life?

As Evan navigates the world of cool kids and nerds, jocks and cheerleaders, first kisses and heartbreak, he comes to understand ‘what it means to be a friend’.

With a bright, catchy pop score from Jason Robert Brown, equal doses of humour and pathos, and a cast of wildly talented teens, 13 is irresistible to grown ups and almost-grown ups alike.

In this production, 16-year-old Walsall Studio School pupil, Ollie Keeling plays the role of Evan, with Hannah Shillingford from Kidderminster as Patrice and 15-year-old James Bastable as Archie.

Written by Jason Robert Brown, author of The Last Five Years, Parade and Songs for a New World, the score of 13 is perfectly suited to young voices and includes the unforgettable Get Me What I Need, Good Enough, A Little More Homework and Brand New You to name but a few.

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l For tickets visit www.seaty.co.uk/13themusical

Bromsgrove Operatic Society will be presenting the ever popular Little Shop of Horrors from July 3-7.

With book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this comical musical theatre offering follows the rather gruesome adventures of a florist’s assistant Seymour Krelborn who acquires a rather unusual plant, he promptly names after the love of his life – his co-worker Audrey.

The plant is demanding and soon Seymour discovers it has a taste for human flesh which makes it grow and grow. Anyway, I think you can guess where this is going . . .

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The score is fun and includes Skid Row, Da Doo, Mushnik and Son, Feed Me and one of my all time favourite musical theatre songs, Somewhere That’s Green. Despite the crazy storyline, I know the group will have so much fun performing this show.

l For tickets contact 07860776940 or visit www.bromsgroveoperaticsociety.org.uk

Members at the Belfry Theatre in Wellington will be off down the Yellow Brick Road on July 6-8 as they present the classic musical The Wizard of Oz.

Like so many girls of her age, little Dorothy Gale of Kansas dreams of what lies over the rainbow.

One day a twister hits the farm where she lives and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Along the way, she meets a Scarecrow, a Tinman and a Cowardly Lion and together with her dog Toto, they travel the world of Oz trying to escape the evil clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West.

l For tickets, visit www.ticketsource.co.uk or http://www.belfreytheatre.com/

Fans of the Queen of Crime will love the latest production by Theatre 282, Dead Man’s Hand by Seymour Matthews, which this group is presenting from June 28-30 at Blakedown Parrish Rooms.

This unique thriller is a play within a play format, beginning in the style of an Agatha Christie classic, but then with a series of twists and turns, ending up as a very different piece. Two couples are lured to a remote Italian villa to be murdered one by one. It’s only when this play is well advanced that we learn we are watching actors rehearsing their own murder mystery. It is shortly after this, when two of these actors have been murdered in the same manner as the characters in their own play, that the twists and turns begin to tease the audience. It’s very clever and well worth a look.

l For tickets priced at £7-6 visit www.theatre282.com

The New Kinver Players, who are based at the Edward Marsh Centre in the village, are presenting Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind from July 4-7.

Susan, a middle-class, bored housewife is married to a dull cleric called Gerald. Her comfortable but humdrum existence is brightened however, by a series of hilarious hallucinations as a result of being knocked out after stepping on a garden rake.

In her unconscious state, Susan is the head of the perfect family, dressed in white and drinking champagne in her stately home, but fantasy soon leads to madness.

Typical Ayckbourn, with a comic feel, but as always an underlying message.

l For tickets visit www.nkp.org.uk or call 01384 877746.

Enjoy classical music? If so Black Country choir Colla Voce is presenting their summer concert on July 14 at Christ Church, Quarry Bank.

Under the musical direction of Richard Ganner, this talented group will be performing Magnificat by John Ritter, Gloria by Vivaldi and Beatus Vir by Monteverdi.

l Tickets are just £10 each and are available from www.collevocechoir.co.uk or by calling 07759136671.

Finally this week, Shropshire based group, Get Your Wiggle On, will be presenting Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s Whistle Down the Wind at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury from July 12-14.

The perfect vehicle for a young group of performers, the score of this musical includes the wonderfully uplifting tunes The Vaults of Heaven, When Children Rule the World, No Matter What and of course the haunting title song.

l For tickets, visit www.gywo.co.uk www.theatresevern.co.uk or call the box office on 01743 281281.

l Well that’s all for this week. Please send me all your news to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk and remember to include good quality colour photos too. Or you can 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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