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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Emily Bridgewater | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Believe it or not, as far as am dram land is concerned, Christmas is just around the corner now, with dames and fairies dusting off their frocks, wands and tiaras ready for pantomime.

White Christmas Sisters

I was lucky enough to interview the stars of this year’s Wolverhampton Grand Theatre pantomime last week and I have to say, it’s set to be a stunner. Starring Debbie McGee, Doreen Tipton and Sooty, there’s fun for all the family!

l Make sure you book your tickets at www.grandtheatre.co.uk or call 01902 429212.

But not everyone loves panto of course and if you are one of those, here is the perfect solution for an alternative festive favourite to treat all the family.

Cradley Heath Amateur Operatic Society will be presenting Irving Berlin’s classic musical, White Christmas from November 13-17 at Stourbridge Town Hall, with performances at 7.30pm nightly and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

War veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davies form a highly successful double act following the dull days of the Second World War. On meeting the beautiful Haynes sisters, Betty and Judy, they follow the girls to their Christmas show at a Vermont ski lodge, which they are surprised to find, is owned by their former army commander, General Waverley.

Before long, it becomes apparent that business is bad and so the four set out to present a Christmas show to put the ailing lodge back on its feet.

Based on the timeless classic film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, this heart-warming musical features 17 unforgettable Irving Berlin tunes including Sisters, Blue Skies, I Love a Piano, Count Your Blessings and everyone’s favourite festive, White Christmas.

It’s been an interesting rehearsal process for the company because leading lady and choreographer, Emma Newton, was due to play the role of Judy Haynes in the show but after a period of feeling tired and unwell soon realised that she would be getting an early Christmas present.

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Luckily, her real-life sister, Sally Gage, who has played the role previously and is also an accomplished choreographer, has stepped into to take over. Although Emma was disappointed to give up the role, she knows it will be in safe hands and is very much looking forward to appearing alongside her sister and singing the iconic song, Sisters, from the show. Is that too many ‘sisters?’ Oh well!

It’s a complete family affair, since Liz Compton who’s playing Betty Haynes will also be appearing opposite her husband in the role of Bob Wallace. Talk about keeping it in the family.

White Christmas is a festive cracker and guaranteed to melt even the hardest-heart this winter.

l For tickets priced at £14-17, call 0121 585 7380 or visit www.chaosoperatics.co.uk

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Another group looking forward to Christmas is St Alphege Musical Production Society (or STAMPS as they’ree affectionately known) as they will be performing A Christmas Carol the musical from November 6-10 at The Core Theatre in Solihull.

Broadway composers Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens have breathed new life into this traditional tale which tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a prosperous curmudgeon who believes that personal wealth is far more important than the happiness and comfort of others.

When Ebenezer is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve however, who show him his past, present and future, he’s terrified into mending his ways and thus greets Christmas morning with a cheerful attitude before spending the day reconnecting with friends and family.

It really is the ultimate feel-good, but thought-provoking Christmas tale, with a host of season songs including Jolly, Rich and Fat, Christmas Together, God Bless Us Everyone and Mr Fezziwig’s Annual Christmas Ball.

l For tickets visit www.stamps-solihull.co.uk or email info@stamps-solihull.co.uk

Brownhills Musical Theatre Company is taking a chance on a newly-released show for amateurs, Bad Girls the Musical, which the group will perform at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock from October 31-November 3.

The show introduces us to an anarchic bunch of women on the edge and up against all odds – addicts, shop lifters, murders and ladies of the night – each with a story to tell of the lives they left behind and their dreams of a better future.

The tragic suicide of a young inmate unleashes an angry protest forcing friends Helen and Nikki to take opposite sides.

The score of the show is gritty and empowering and includes I Shouldn’t be There, That’s the Way It Is, One Moment, Freedom Road and This is my Life.

l For tickets from £15, visit www.positickets.co.uk or call 01785 715368.

There’s murder afoot as All Saints Players, which perform at All Saints Church in West Bromwich, present Alan Ayckbourn’s mystery comedy, It Could Be Any One of Us, from November 6-9.

A thunderstorm, a windswept country house, a family of failures and a detective who has never solved a case, are all the right ingredients for a thriller with humour.

The murder could be any one of three people, the identity of whom is changed at every performance by the director of the play, it’s different and not one to be missed.

l For tickets call 0121 357 4248 or email kenford98@btinternet.com

Comedy fans will remember the 1990s sitcom, Father Ted, the tale of three crazy Irish priests living on Craggy Island which became a cult hit Channel Four TV series.

Well, Father Ted has now been adapted for the stage by Paul Steventon Marks, and you can catch a production starring Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McQuire and Father Jack Hackett at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham from November 3-10.

l For tickets and guaranteed laughs galore, visit www.oldburyrep.org or call 01384 832556.

l That’s all for this week. Please keep your emails telling me your news and your good quality colour photos coming to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, or you can call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

Emily Bridgewater

By Emily Bridgewater
Weekend Supplement Editor

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