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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

There are celebrations in Shrewsbury at the moment, as the town proudly remembers the 50th anniversary of their win in the European Final of TV’s most famous game show, It’s A Knockout!

The cast of Chris Eldon Lee’s play, Shrewsbury’s Finest Hour

Love Lee Productions will be performing a new musical in celebration, entitled Shrewsbury’s Finest Hour by local playwright, Chris Eldon Lee.

“It’s a true story of silliness, skulduggery, subterfuge, scandal and success from 1960 - the summer that made Shropshire proud,” said Chris.

“Crucial to the win was the sterling support they received from the town’s Cheerleaders. But how do you cast 10 walk-on parts?” he continued.

Well the answer is, you don’t. What you do instead is to find ten Barbie Dolls to join the 12 human actors on stage and that is exactly what Chris and his team have done.

“The Barbies’ Rah-Rah routines are quite amazing”, said Chris, “and do tend to steal the show, especially when they get things wrong,” he laughed.

The premiere run of Shrewsbury’s Finest Hour is at Theatre Severn from October 2 to 5, starring Tim and Beverley Baker.

For tickets, visit www.theatresevern.co.uk or call 01743 281281.

Elsewhere across the region, it is a complete musical theatre fest, with something for everyone.

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Brierley Hill Musical Theatre Company, who perform at Brierley Hill Civic Hall, will present Jekyll and Hyde from October 9 to 12, with performances at 7.30pm nightly and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

This is the spooky tale of the epic battle between good and evil, based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story of the same name.

The son of a brilliant doctor whose experiments with human personality create an evil and murderous counterpart, is convinced the cure for his father's mental illness lies in the separation of man's evil nature from his good.

Dr. Henry Jekyll unwittingly unleashes his own dark side, wreaking havoc in the streets of late 19th-century London as the savage, maniacal Edward Hyde.

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Jekyll & Hyde the musical has an unforgettable script and a romantic pop score hailed as a modern classic which includes Lost in the Darkness, Façade, Take Me as I Am and the powerful ballad, This is the Moment.

For tickets priced at £15.00 and £14.00 for concessions, contact the box office on 0345 658 8095 or visit www.bhmtc.co.uk Group discounts are also available.

Over at MAC Birmingham, The Arcadians Musical Theatre Company is presenting Sweet Charity from October 10 to 12.

It’s 1967 in New York and dance hall hostess, Charity Hope Valentine is at the end of a long line of losers and users when she meets Oscar, a mild-mannered tax accountant who steals her heart.

But will she be able to settle for the hum-drum life of a married woman and can Oscar overcome Charity’s past?

This musical has lots of instantly recognisable songs including If My Friends Could See Me Now, The Rhythm of Life, Where Am I Going? and Big Spender.

With a book by the renown American playwright, Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Sweet Charity was a huge hit on the Broadway stage and as those of you who have recently watched the hit BBC TV series Fosse Verdon will already know, it was choreographed by the incomparable Bob Fosse, the likes of which the world of dance has never seen since and starred Shirley MacLaine in the title role.

Laura Peters stars as Charity, with Jacob Standbridge as Oscar, Rebecca Eastwood as Mommy Brubeck – a change of sex from Daddy Brubeck played to perfection by Sammy Davis Jr. in the original – and Dan Guzman as the movie star, Vittorio Vidal.

For tickets, visit www.arcadians.net , www.macbirmingham.co.uk or call 0121 446 3232.

From October 4 to 5, Bournville Musical Theatre Company is performing their musical showcase, The Magic of Musicals at the Dovehouse Theatre in Solihull, with performances at 7.30pm nightly and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

The group will be performing excepts from Hamilton, West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen, Hairspray and Mary Poppins.

For tickets priced at £10 and £8 for concessions, email jennifer.duffy1@btopenworld.com or visit www.bmtcweb.co.uk.

There is just time to catch the final couple of performances of Backstreet Theatre Company’s latest offering, The Wedding Singer, which they are performing at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock tonight and tomorrow.

A love story set in the 1980’s, The Wedding Singer tells the tale, as you would expect of a wedding singer, who meets and falls in love with a waitress at the venue he works at, but of course the path of true love is never smooth, as she is engaged to another man.

The movie version starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore was a huge hit, with tears and laughter in equal measure. The score includes Saturday Night in the City, It’s Your Wedding Day, Let Me Come Home and Grow Old with You.

For tickets visit www.backstreettheatrecompany.wordpress.com or call 01543 578762.

I have heard nothing but good things about Little Women the Musical, but have not seen it yet.

However, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Theatre Company is performing this show at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham from October 10 to 12, so maybe I will pop along and take a look.

Based on Louisa May Alcott's classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel, the musical is based on the loves and lives of the four March sisters— traditional Meg, wild, aspiring writer Jo, timid Beth and romantic Amy,— and their mother, as they survive and try to lead a normal life back home in Massachusetts while their father is away fighting the Civil War.

The score of the show includes Our Finest Dreams, Take a Chance on Me, Some Things Are Meant to Be and Sometimes When You Dream.

For tickets visit www.crescent-theatre.co.uk or call 0121 643 5858.

That’s all for this week. Please keep sending me all your news and remember to include good quality colour photos too, 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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