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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Oliver! remains as popular a musical today as when it first came to the stage in 1960, when it premiered in London’s West End to rave reviews.

Oliver and the Artful Dodger to appear with the main piece which begins with information on Star-Struck Theatre Company’s production of Oliver the musical

Hugely successful runs on Broadway and international tours followed, not to mention the 1968 film version which made stars of the young Mark Lester and Jack Wilde, who appeared in the title role and that of Jack Dawkins, The Artful Dodger.

The latest am dram version of Oliver! will be brought to us by a relatively new local group, Star-Struck Theatre Company, who will perform the show at the Mill Theatre, Dormston Centre in Sedgley from May 22 to 25.

The characters in the musical are maybe not quite as dark and sinister as those created by Charles Dickens in the original novel, but nonetheless, Oliver! has outstanding moments of drama and deals with somewhat controversial themes.

That said, the score of the show is wonderfully uplifting and catchy and certainly lightens the mood and includes Food, Glorious Food, You’ve Got to Pick A Pocket or Two, My Name, As Long As He Needs Me, Who Will Buy and of course the title song.

This is the only the second musical presented by Star-Struck, since forming in 2017.

They are always on the lookout for new members, so if you are interested in joining them or would like to purchase tickets for Oliver, contact www.star-struck.org or call 01902 546340.

Meanwhile, All Saints Players from West Bromwich are presenting J D Robins thriller, Deliver Us From Evil from May 22 to 24, with performances at 7.30pm nightly at All Saints Church.

It’s an unusual plot but in a nutshell, Ben Seaton is the new rector of Wychcombe Magna and is slowly gaining acceptance with the locals. In contrast, his wife Diana feels decidedly out of place and even rather threatened as a strange woman keeps walking into the house without any invitation.

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Then, when a statue is vandalized and a placard depicting a swastika is found in the graveyard, Diana’s uneasiness escalates. Then the unthinkable happens – there is a murder at the rectory.

This well-established group will have no trouble whatsoever in delivering this murder mystery, so please pop along and support them.

For tickets priced at just £5 each, call 0121 588 4786 or 0121 357 4248.

Shenstone based theatre company, From the Top, will be shouting” Hi-De-Hi Campers!” to audiences at Highbury Theatre in Sutton Coldfield, when they present the stage adaptation of the hit BBC 1980’s sitcom from May 22 to 25.

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Will the Welsh bombshell Gladys Pugh ever win the heart of Camp Entertainments Manager, Jeffrey Fairbrother? Will chambermaid Peggy ever become a Yellow Coat? Will Ted Bovis, Spike, Fred the Jockey and the grumpy Punch and Judy man Mr Partridge do their bit to find the winner of the Miss Maplin’s Competition?

With all the familiar faces, plenty of slapstick comedy, this is a laugh a minute show with a good old singalong too.

Why not go along and join in the 1950’s fun and games?

To book seats, call the ticket hotline on 07763533077 or visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/from-the-top-theatre-company.

Dance lovers, you will be pleased to hear that Shropshire Inclusive Dance, the exceptional, Shrewsbury based group, whose aim is to offer the experience and enjoyment of dance to both able-bodied and disabled dancers alike, will be holding workshops from May 28 to June 1.

Dancers are invited to join Annie Hanauer, Vicky Malin and Sarah Blanc and members of Contact Dance Company for a week of exploration, creative development and the chance to meet and work with other local dance artists.

Limited places are available and these are paid for workshops.

For more information and to book your place, visit www.sidance.live or call one of the following three numbers: 01743 234976, 07855931214 or 07817194644.

One of the best loved stories from my childhood is J M Barrie’s tale of the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan.

How many of us have spent evenings reading this story as a child and then rea it to our own children later in life, as well as enjoying the Disney cartoon version and the more recent movies too?

Peter Pan the Musical is the stage adaptation of the adventures of Peter, Wendy, John and Michael and the Lost Boys in Neverland, which Five Towns Theatre will present at Stoke Rep Theatre from May 22 to 25.

With a beautiful score of hum-along tunes and great comedy, Peter Pan is the perfect fun night out for all the family, but remember to listen out for the alarm clock ticking in that crocodile’s belly!

For tickets, call 01782 321666 or visit www.fivetownstheatre.org.uk.

Curtain Call Theatre Company from Shrewsbury will be presenting Footloose the Musical at Theatre Severn from May 24 to 25.

Footloose is based on the 1984 movie of the same name, which starred Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack, a somewhat wild teenager from Chicago who is forced to move to a small town in Utah with his mother.

All too soon Ren becomes aware of a ban on music and dancing in the town, as a result of a deadly accident involving a gang of teenagers and the efforts of a local minister to ensure the local youngsters are kept in check.

Naturally there is a love story running alongside too, when Ren falls for Aerial, who unfortunately happens to be the minister’s daughter.

This show simply oozes 1980’s appeal with a host of well-known songs including Let’s Hear It For The Boy, I Can’t Stand Still, Mama Says, Can You Find It In Your Heart? and of course, the unforgettable, all-singing, all-dancing anthem, Footloose.

Expect high-energy dance routines, authentic outfits and to be transported back in time thirty years or more by this talented group.

For tickets visit www.theatresevern.co.uk or call 01743 281281. For more information on Curtain Call theatre Company, visit their Facebook Page or email curtaincallshrewsbury@gmail.com

That’s all for this week. Please send all your news and good quality colour photos to me at a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton or look me up on Facebook.

Break a leg!

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

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

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