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Your Midlands and Shropshire am dram guide

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

As the nights draw in, what better way to spend an autumn evening than watching an eerie thriller?

Secga Theatre Co

Wolverhampton based drama group, Secga Theatre Company is performing Norman Robbins’ scary tale, At the Sign of the Crippled Harlequin at the Towers Theatre, Tettenhall College from October 24 to 26, which is just the ticket.

An assortment of unlikely guests is stranded by deep snow at the isolated Peak Lodge Inn in the Derbyshire Peak District shortly before Christmas. But what promises to be an ideal festive holiday soon takes on a darker mood when one of the guests is found dead in the snow just yards from the front door.

A brightly-dressed stranger has been seen in the vicinity and it seems the inn has a reputation for being haunted by the vengeful spirit of a former actor noted for his portrayal of Harlequin many years before.

Could this evil spirit of Christmas Past be out to vent his wrath on all the guests?

The curtain rises at 7.30pm each evening and refreshments are available before the show begins and during the interval and there will be the chance to win some goodies too in the raffle drawn during the interval.

Tickets are £8.00 each and can be bought at the door on the night, from Loco in Tettenhall High Street, online through Ticketsource (ticketsource.co.uk/secga-theatre-company), or can be reserved in advance by phoning 01902 337908 or via the contacts page on the group’s website https://secgatheatrecompany.vpweb.co.uk.

Meanwhile on the musical theatre front, it seems there is an invasion of nuns, goat herds and children over the next few weeks across the region as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic show, The Sound of Music hits the ground running.

The Sound of Music is a heart-warming story, based on the real-life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, who became one of the world's best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II.

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The film version starred Julie Andrews in the role of Maria, the tomboyish postulant at an Austrian abbey who becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children, bringing love and happiness into a home draped in sadness.

The score from the show is unforgettable and includes Climb Every Mountain, My Favourite Things, Do-Rei-Mi, Edelweiss and of course the title song which is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye.

From October 15 to 20, Peterbrook Players, a group who perform at The Core Theatre in Solihull, will be delighting audiences with the show, followed by Telford and District Light Operatic Players on October 23 to 26 at Oakengates Theatre in Telford and then Whitchurch Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society from November 19 to 23 at Whitchurch Civic Centre.

Visit www.peterbrookplayers.co.uk www.tadlop.com or www.waods.net for tickets.

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You can catch another classic musical, Singin’ in the Rain, presented by Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society, at the Swan Theatre in Worcester from October 15 to 19.

Set during the transition from silent films to `talkies', Singin’ in the Rain sees movie stars, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, who have been cast repeatedly as a romantic couple, struggle when their latest film is remade into a musical.

Don has the perfect voice for the new singing part, but Lina is a different matter. Enter Kathy Selden, a bright, young, aspiring singer and actress who is hired to record over Lina’s voice, but there’s fireworks when Lina realises Don is not only interested in Kathy for her vocal talent!

The music from this show is happy, romantic and exceptionally catchy. Songs include Good Mornin’. Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes, You Are My Lucky Star and of course Singin’ in the Rain.

For tickets, visit www.wods.co.uk or call 01905 611427 or 07464 818381.

Stourbridge based choir, Viva Musica, is presenting their next concert entitled Let the People Sing on October 19, at St. Mary’s Church in Oldswinford.

It begins at 7pm and tickets are £10 each, which includes a drink.

Call 0121 550 5581, 01562 883480 or visit www.viva-musica.co.uk to book.

Want something to keep your young performers entertained this weekend? If so Lollipop Theatre Arts from Brewood is holding a Sing-a-thon on Sunday, October 13, at Jubilee Hall in the village.

There will be performances from members of the Lollipop school, parents, friends, family and some secret special guests, so well worth popping along.

Everyone is welcome to go and have a sing-song, but remember to take your own music with you.

The event is in aid of Mind, the mental health charity.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.

On October 18 to 19, Lichfield Musical Youth Theatre will present a fundraising concert at Lichfield Cathedral, entitled Greatest Movie Musicals.

With a cast of no less than 55 singers, this spectacular concert includes songs from The Greatest Showman, Mary Poppins, Moana, La La Land, A Star is Born, Funny Girl, Mama Mia, West Side Story and Moulin Rouge to name but a few.

Next year sees the group celebrates its 35th anniversary and so expect much more to come.

For tickets visit www.lichfieldyouththeatre.co.uk or https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/lichfield-musical-youth-theatre

Finally this week, the resident group at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham is presenting Pressure, a play by David Haig, from October 19 to 26 with performances at 7.45pm nightly.

Pressure is set at Supreme Allied Headquarters in Portsmouth in June 1944. Eisenhower is about to make the decision to launch Operation Overlord.

The consequences of unfavourable weather conditions for the D-Day landings are unimaginable and the responsibility for an accurate forecast falls on meteorologist James Stagg.

Tension builds as the author explores the pressures on Eisenhower and Stagg, both in their professional and personal lives, as Stagg engages in a battle of wills with his American second-in-command.

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

That’s all for this week. Keep sending 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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