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Your weekly Midlands and Shropshire am dram round-up

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

We are now well into the swing of the autumn theatre season with a host of dramatic performances across the region.

I’m delighted to say that at last the Grange Theatre Company is able to present a play from their own premises – the Grange Theatre in Walsall after a period of unsettling structural problems. They’ve chosen the award-winning, esteemed play, The Dresser by Ronald Harwood.

The 2004 version saw Julian Glover and Nicholas Lyndhurst bring the characters of Sir and his dresser to life in Richmond. It tells the tale of a backstage dresser who is completely devoted to the brilliant but tyrannical head of a touring Shakespearean theatre group. He struggles to support the deteriorating star as the company struggles to carry on during the London blitz.

l For tickets call 07909036835 or email box.office@grangeplayers.co.uk

From September 27-29, the Little Theatre in Wellington will be presenting A Murder Has Been Arranged, a thriller by Emlyn Williams.

Sir Charles Jasper is an eccentric who delves into the mystical. He’s due to inherit two million pounds on his 40th birthday and plans to celebrate in style on the stage of a supposedly haunted theatre.

The merriment is interrupted however by Maurice, his hitherto missing nephew who also stands to inherit in the event of Sir Charles’ death. Well, you can guess what happens next can’t you?

l For tickets visit the group’s Facebook page or call 01952 407959.

The Wombourne Musical Festival takes place on September 22 and the Birmingham Savoyards Gilbert and Sullivan Society will be performing a variety of popular songs, as well as Trial by Jury, at the event.

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It is the 10th anniversary of this popular festival, which is held at St Benedict Biscop Church in the village.

There will be excerpts from Les Miserables and Chicago as well as a host of classical favourites including Nessum Dorma, Nimrod and Pomp and Circumstance, all under the instruction of Michael D. Thompson.

l Tickets are available by visiting www.stbenedictbiscop.org.uk or from Taylor’s Green Grocers in Church Road.

At the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham, the resident group will presen Richard Bean’s hilarious comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors from September 22-29 in the main house.

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Set in Brighton in 1963, this adaptation of Carlo Goldini’s 18th century play tells the tale of Francis Henshall, a bumbling fool who has been sacked from a skiffle band. Permanently hungry and in sinking in debt, Francis finds himself employed by two men – Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster and a privately education criminal, Stanley Stubbers. Desperate to please both masters and terrified in case they find out about each other, he stumbles through life trying to keep everyone happy.Add to this madness a woman pretending to be a man, mistaken identities and Francis’s chaotic but loveable personality and you have the perfect ingredients for a rip-roaring comedy.

Expect slap-stick, unique songs and one-liners.

l For tickets priced at £17-£15 and great discounts available for family and matinees, visit www.crescent-theatre.co.uk or call 0121 643 5858.

The spooky month of October is just around the corner and one group who is well prepared for the haunting season is Walsall Operatic Society.

They will present Fright Night Spooktacular from October 4-6 at Manor Farm Community Centre in Walsall, starting at 7.30pm nightly, with a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.

It’s described as an evening of delightfully ghoulish entertainment.

l For tickets priced at £10 each, contact jaynecrowther@btconnect.com

Shawbury Village Players will hold a quiz on September 28 at Shawbury Village Hall.

It’s an informal evening with plenty of fun offering the chance to socialise and learn more about the group.

It’s just £3 per person and you can make up teams of up to six people. Bring your own refreshments.

l For more information, visit www.shawburyvillageplayers.co.uk

There’s just time to catch the last couple of performances of Conjugal Rites, a comedy by Roger Hall, which the resident company at the Oldbury Rep is presenting until September 15.

The play opens with Barry and his wife Gen, who are about to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary, sitting in bed chatting. We are then privy to their most intimate conversations on marriage, family and work situations. It’s clear that their lives have changed over the years and one by one some shocking revelations are revealed.

Don’t take the children, but it is good fun!

l For tickets visit www.oldburyrep.org or call 0121 552 2761.

You can catch a production of the Elvis inspired musical, All Shook Up, presented by Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre from September 18-22.

This musical comedy tells the tale of a small-town girl’s big dreams and a surprise visit from a leather jacket wearing, guitar playing roustabout who helps the small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock and roll.

Including some classic hits such as Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock and of course the title song, it makes for an evening of great entertainment.

l For tickets visit www.scmtc.co.uk or call 01543 412121.

Finally this week, Willenhall Singers will be presenting their annual Charity Concert, Caring Around the Clock on October 6 at 7.30pm at Sneyd Community Centre.

This year’s chosen charity is Marie Curie Nurses. .

l For more information, visit www.willenhallsingers.org or call 01902 634522.

l Well, that’s all for this week. Send in your news and colour photographs 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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