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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

It’s good to see local am dram companies trying out new musicals and plays.

Soho Cinders

I cannot imagine the popular musicals of the 20th century fading away altogether, or the classic dramas for that matter, but there is no doubt that the new productions we are seeing are the future.

Third from the Right Productions, who are based in the heart of the Black Country, is presenting Soho Cinders, a musical written in 2008 with music by George Stiles, and lyrics and book by co-authors, Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis.

Loosely based on the fairy story Cinderella, it’s a modern musical fable set in the London district of Soho which mixes politics, sex-scandals and true love.

An impoverished student Robbie is paying for his college bills in a somewhat unorthodox way; becoming romantically involved with an engaged prospective mayoral candidate, James Prince.

James and Robbie's worlds collide, forcing them to fight for their own fairy-tale ending in this hilarious, satirical twist on the classic happily ever after tale.

The score of the show includes the numbers Old Compton Street, Spin, It’s Hard to Tell, They Don’t Make Glass Slippers and You Shall Go to the Ball – plenty of Cinderella references there.

In this production, Joshua Hawkins takes the role of Robbie, Adam Siviter is James Prince, Natalie Baggott is Clodagh and Kerry Davies is Velcro.

Local performer and choreographer Gaynor Whitehouse will be making her directorial debut with this unusual, but highly entertaining show.

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Catch Soho Cinders at Crestwood School Theatre from August 29 to 31. For tickets, visit www.tftrproductions.co.uk or call 07817 680849.

In complete contrast, the summer prom season is upon us and on August 24, local soprano, Tara Kelsey and her pianist, Wayne Baddeley will present The Last Night of the Summer Proms at Cosy Hall in Newport at 7.30pm.

The duo invite you to celebrate summer in jubilant style at an uplifting evening of music, from show stoppers to classical offerings by Puccini, Lehar and Chopin.

The evening will of course be rounded off with a host prom favourites, so take your flags along.

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For tickets priced at £10 in advance and £12 on the door, call 07957661222 to book.

The young musical theatre stars taking part in Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s summer school project, The Addams Family, are gearing up for their performance of this wacky, quirky, spooky show, which they will present on August 14 to 17.

Based on the beloved characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, the musical sees daughter Wednesday, the princess of darkness, fall in love with a mere mortal; a smart, sweet, respectable young man called William, but how will he and his family fare when they are invited to dinner?

The score is delightful and amusing and includes When You’re an Addams, One Normal Night, What if?, Let’s Live Before We Die and Move Toward the Darkness.

The cast will spend just two and a half weeks in rehearsal before presenting the show, working very hard with a professional production team.

For tickets priced at £13 each or £46 for a family, visit www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk or call 01785 619080.

Even though it is summertime, am dram groups across the region are already preparing for the festive season, which means only one thing - pantomime.

Startime Variety, based in Halesowen is holding a launch night on August 16 for their 2020 panto, Rapunzel, at Trinity Methodist Church in Netherton. It starts at 7.30pm.

This friendly evening event will offer anyone interested in taking part the chance to meet the production team, discuss the roles on offer and audition to become a new member.

For further details and to express an interest, visit the Startime Variety Facebook page.

At the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham on August 21, Little Arden Theatre Company will present the classic tale, Treasure Island.

Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island is a fast-paced adventure of piracy on the high seas.

The tale begins at a small inn on the English coast in the year 1775, and quickly becomes an unforgettable tale of treachery and mayhem, featuring a host of legendary buccaneers.

For tickets priced at £12 each, visit www.crescent-theatre.co.uk or call 0121 643 5858.

Over in Oswestry, Face2Face Performance Academy is holding a three-day summer workshop at Moreton Hall for young people aged 9 to 18 years old.

Joining the workshop is West End performer, Lucyelle Cliffe, who has appeared in Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Wicked.

Lucy said: “I am really looking forward to visiting Face2Face. I’ve heard great things about the students. In my workshop, I will be concentrating on acting through song. This skill is very important in the industry and doing it well can ensure you captivate an audience.”

Also joining the workshop is Marcus Ayton, who recently toured the UK in Shrek the Musical, playing the much-loved Donkey character.

Head Coach of Face2Face, Michael Jenkins said, “This is by far the most exciting workshop we have had to date. The purpose is to provide our students with an enriching opportunity to learn from current professionals and have great fun at the same time.”

The workshop takes place between 10am and 4pm on August 21 to 23. The cost for three days is £120 which includes lunches and light refreshments.

To book a place, email face2face@moretonhall.com

Finally this week, if you are interested in developing your acting talents, learning stage direction and management, set design, script writing or other theatrical skills both on stage and off, why not join a new drama club held at The Connect Project in Brierley Hill every Wednesday morning.

Organiser, Phill Liptrot, is keen to attract anyone aged 16 and over to join in.

For more information and to book your place, call 01384 262114.

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

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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