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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

A fascination with the Second World War has often resulted in both musical and dramatic performances.

Cast of Flare Path presented by Shropshire Drama Company

Besides the wonderfully nostalgic songs and romantic movies from the era, there have also been some excellent dramas written, including Flare Path.

Terrance Rattigan’s play is a tribute to the collective spirit of the wartime bomber crews and their partners as well as being a deeply moving depiction of people at war.

Set in the residents’ lounge of a small Lincolnshire hotel during 1941, a place where the RAF pilots and crews awaited their fate before and after bombing raids, the action presides over an autumn weekend.

Peter Kyle, a successful Hollywood actor whose star is about to wane, unexpectedly turns up at the hotel with the intention and hope of reclaiming the one true love of his life, the young actress Patricia Warren. His aims are complicated however by the fact that she has relatively recently married a young bomber pilot.

Although it was Patricia who initiated the break-up with Peter, she still has strong feelings for him. His appearance forces her to face up to the dilemma and a decision of who needs her more – a former long-time lover afraid of what his future holds, or her pilot husband, Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham DFC, whose breezy manner is a veneer to cover his shattered nerves.

The drama of this complex situation is played out against the background of a bombing raid.

Shropshire Drama Company will present this play at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury from June 26 to 29, with performances at 7.30pm nightly.

Flare Path promises to be moving, touching and a must for anyone who enjoys the romance and tragedy of the era.

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For tickets priced at £16 and £14 for concessions, visit www.theatresevern.co.uk or call 01743 281281.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Youth Theatre will present Frank Loesser’s celebrated musical, Guys and Dolls from June 20 to 22 at the Old Rep Theatre.

Set in the Big Apple, this show is the perfect romantic comedy. Gambler Nathan Detroit bets a big-time winner, Sky Masterson that he cannot take the beautiful Sarah Brown to Havana and stay overnight. Although Sky oozes charm, this is a harder task than it first appears, as Sarah is a ‘Mission Doll’ – a member of the Salvation Army.

The show takes us from the heart of Times Square to the steamy heat of Havana, to the sewers of the city where the gamblers roll their dice.

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The score is unforgettable and includes Luck be a Lady Tonight, Take Back Your Mink, Fugue for Tin Horn and of course the title song.

For tickets visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk or call 0121 359 9444.

Lovers of dance will be pleased to hear that on June 22, Kings Court Dance Academy and School of Performing Arts will present their annual showcase, entitled This is Me, in the auditorium at Oakengates Theatre, Telford.

This dance academy is one of the leading dance schools in Wolverhampton, Under the expert eye of their principal and founder, Carla Day, the school is based at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis and Squash Club in Tettenhall.

This exceptionally talented group of dancers, who study ballet, tap, modern and lyrical dance as well as acrobatics, will offer an impressive display of skills set to popular and well-known music.

For tickets priced at £12.50 each, visit www.theplacetelford.com or call 01952 382382.

The Year 12 musical theatre students from Birmingham Ormiston Academy will present their latest show, Decades, on 26 to 27 June at the Old Rep Theatre in the city.

As the title would suggest, Decades is a musical theatre journey from the beginning of the 20th century right up until the present day, exploring and depicting iconic stage work from each decade.

For tickets, visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk or call 0121 359 9444.

Would your children like to take part in pantomime this festive season? If so, here are two dates for your diaries.

Little Wolf Entertainment will be bringing the tale of Robin Hood to the Core Theatre in Solihull later this year and are seeking children to take part in the show.

The first audition date is June 28 when the company will be auditioning for the speaking roles of Prince Rowan and Princess Cherry.

There are some strict criteria in place however. Children need to be aged between 8 to 12 years old, and 4ft 2”-4ft 10” in height.

In addition to the speaking roles, the company is also looking for children to appear in the junior ensemble for the show. This time, the children may be aged 8-16 years old and the audition date is June 30.

Both boys and girls are welcome to audition and although the ability to sing, dance and act is a definite advantage, you do not need to have specific theatre experience.

For more information and for registration times, visit www.coretheatresolihull.co.uk.

To conclude their summer season, The Nonentities at The Rose Theatre in Kidderminster, will be presenting a play based on some of the iconic comedy episodes of ‘The Vicar of Dibley.’

This delightful comedy series, starring Dawn French in the title role, was without doubt British TV comedy at its best and remains a popular repeated programme today.

The play is being performed at 7.30pm from June 17 to 22 at the Rose Theatre, but there is also a special preview performance on June 16 at 6.30 pm.

Telephone the box office 01562 743745 or book online at www.rosetheatre.co.uk

Finally, Lutley Community Voices will be performing their annual concert entitled ‘Tracks of My Years’ on June 15 at 7.30pm at Life Central Church, Little Cornbow, Halesowen.

This popular group will be joined by guests, the Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir and together the singers will perform an evening of pure entertainment, all in aid of the 61st Birmingham Girls Brigade.

This is a Christian organisation who welcome girls of all races and religions to join together and make new friends and take part in a variety of activities in an area, which is sadly known for its drug and gang culture.

Tickets are just £10 each and free for under 14-year olds, available on 07720030899 or by emailing info@lutleycommunityvoices.co.uk

Well that’s all for this week. Please send me all your news and good quality colour photographs to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

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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