Triple Cross is a new show, written and directed by Centre Stage, Balsall Common group members Yaz Zahran and Malcolm Briggs. We follow the story of Jack Cross, his Dad, Richard and his Grandad, George Cross. There are tensions between the family because of Jack's life choices. Through flashbacks to the 1930s 1950s and 1970s we see the events that shaped George and Richard into the men they are today. We also see how history has a habit of repeating itself. Throughout, this drama is laced with songs from those eras.
With all of the flashbacks and different cast members playing the characters through the years, it could get confusing trying to follow the story. However, there are screens to remind you (if the costumes weren't enough) which year you are in, also between scenes there is year appropriate music playing to enhance the message further. The flashbacks are a neat idea to not only tell the story but also to add in historical details of the events at the time, there has obviously been some research done here.
The cast work hard, with some playing multiple characters and others ageing before our eyes. Joe Worall plays Jack cross as a typical rebellious 20 year old that lives for now. The close relationship between him and his best mate Sam (Ben MacSkimming) was a joy to watch. A stable and calming influence throughout was Julie Cross played by Linda Connor. Her emotional rendition of Wild Horses was a delight. It’s the women that are the strength and support behind the Cross men, the major factor in Jack's life is Charlotte, wonderfully portrayed and voiced by Emily Coles.
Amidst all the drama was a humour in the form of a delightful scene with Richard (Stifyn Baker) and Julie (Cheryl Braithwaite).
This production is both thought-provoking and enjoyable. It also goes to prove that you don’t need a big theatre and big budget to entertain an audience.
Centre Stage Balsall Common present Triple Cross at Heart Of England School, Balsall Common (see map below). For more information and to book tickets to this world premiere production, click here, or call 01676534220 for tickets.
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Bugsy Malone is a cult classic and seeing it brought to the stage by a raft of talented youngsters made for an enjoyable night at the theatre.
Set in Chicago, the play is loosely based around events through the 1920s and early part of the 1930s, with a focus on gangsters like Al Capone and Bugs Moran. Birmingham Youth Theatre have tackled this production head on, with sequins and style.
Sam Cox shone in the role of Fat Sam, with excellent characterisation and voice to boot. Two comedic turns of the night came from Kathryn Ellis and Joe Logan. Taking on numerous roles, they interspersed scenes with pure hilarity. These three performers were spectacularly engaging from start to finish.
Cameron Simpson took on the role of Bugsy a smooth city slicker, with Emmie Hands playing Blousey Brown, who dreams of Hollywood fame. (These roles are both alternated, with Sinnie Foday and Holly-Mae Nelson playing Bugsy and Blousey at certain performances).Tallulah was superbly played by Jenna Simpson, with a special mention also to Scott Jennings, who stood out in each role he undertook.
James Shaw and Rachel Ewins have bright futures ahead of them, both individually dazzle with their solos Tomorrow and Show Business and the entire cast delivered a delightful sound under the baton of musical director Chris Corcoran, with direction from Adam Swift and choreography from Jordan McKenzie.
Birmingham Youth Theatre should feel incredibly proud with what they have achieved. They can all certainly be anything that they want to be.
Birmingham Youth Theatre's production of Bugsy Malone plays at The Old Rep Theatre until Saturday 6 June. For more information and to book tickets, click here, or call The Old Rep's box office on 0121 359 9444.
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Buddy is a beautifully poignant musical, not only is it filled with timeless songs, it tells the story of the tragically short life of Buddy Holly. Having seen this show professionally a number of times, it was a delight to see it brought to the stage by Midlands amateur theatre group, Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company.
The cast oozed enthusiasm and energy from start to finish, with a slick production that showcased an array of talents.
Leading the way was Dan Anketell, who, for those few short hours, really did become Buddy Holly. He delivered a truly sensational performance as the young, headstrong Buddy. Supported expertly by the Crickets, Joe B. Mauldlin (played Ed Hill), Jerry Allison (played by Mike Holt) and Tommy (played by Pat Jervis), it was a joy to see Anketell, Hill and Holt play their instruments live.
Buddy Holly and The Crickets soon embark on a national tour and they stumble upon the Apollo Theatre. Here we meet Apollo performers Fidel Lloyd, Joanne McWillie and Michael Steer; this trio not only injected humour into proceedings, Joanne McWillie’s rendition of Shout was fantastic with her excellent vocals.
As the show reaches its tragic climax, the audience is transported back to Clear Lake, Iowa in February 1959. Bursting onto the stage is Tony Orbell who sparkled, literally, as MC. It is the Winter Dance Party and Buddy Holly is now touring with the Big Bopper (played by Pete Beck) and Ritchie Valens (played by Anil Patel). Beck was superb as the Big Bopper, not only getting the entire audience on their feet, but also assuredly exuding Big Bopper’s character. Patel dazzled as pelvis-shaking Valens, with an outstanding rendition of La Bamba.
The ensemble assembles onto the stage, in a sea of colour, with marvellous costumes and dancing. The audience were immersed, dancing along and celebrating. Then, there was a sharp change, back to an acoustic True Love Ways, already touchingly performed by Anketell earlier on. In a spotlight, Buddy’s guitar, and the crackled radio announcement of the plane crash. It was an incredibly moving moment.
What is so fantastic about this musical is the fact that although it tells such a tragic tale, it really does celebrate the life of Buddy Holly. The finale is bittersweet, but an utter spectacle, and it was a great achievement for the company to have near enough every single member of the audience up on their feet dancing.
Huge credit to the director Lynne Hill and choreographer Maggie Jackson, who really brought out the heart of this show. Finally, one other very important mention is to Sheila Pearson, musical director. With exceptional harmonies and a stellar band, the music of Buddy Holly shone through.
Make sure you get a ticket to see SCMTC this week at Lichfield Garrick, because you will be dancing in the aisles and wanting to come back for more.
The Buddy Holly Story runs at Lichfield Garrick until 6 June. Tickets from £15 (£10 for children under 16) are available by clicking here or calling the Lichfield Garrick box office on 01543 412 121.
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What is most enjoyable about the ballet is the reality of the spectacle before your eyes, the sound of a leather sole as it hits the floor of the stage. How the weight of one person can sound so graceful and light. It emphasises the skill of the performers and celebrates their artistry. Years of intense training go into the profession and it's clear to see that all members of Northern Ballet are devoted to their life choice.
This evening the company are performing Madame Butterfly with Perpetuum Mobile. The latter is a short classical piece which the audience are treated to at the start of the evening. Simple, beautiful, and elegant, the performance is seamless. The live orchestra, conducted by Nathan Fifield, provide magic and enchantment. The combination of both music and movement is a recipe of perfection; with minimal effort the performers showcase faultless turns and stunning pointe work. With straight legs and perfect poise the choreography of David Nixon OBE shines.
With warm overhead light and Oriental tones Madame Butterfly begins. The piece is classic, performed traditionally the audience are transported to a far away culture - one of decorative dress, elaborate tapestries, and ornate fans where painted geishas charm and allure visiting Service Men.
Butterfly (played exceptionally well by Rachael Gillespie) is endearing, shy and naive with a childlike innocence. A delicate flower, she is forced to bloom by Officer Pinkerton (played by Javier Torres). Pinkerton is masculine and handsome. The pair make an attractive couple and the development of their relationship is well portrayed. The post marital seduction is stunningly beautiful, tender and sweet. A mutual respect and admiration is discovered as Butterfly breaks free from her cocoon with delightful expression; she floats in the arms of Pinkerton like a single blossom being carried by a Summer breeze.
The finale is devastating. A victim of circumstance, Butterfly is a powerless mother who determines her own fate. Compelling and dramatic the audience anticipate the tragedy but the final deed never ceases to shock.
Though it would have been nice to see a modern take on a classic tale the piece was captivating, visually striking, and timeless.
Northern Ballet's tour of Madame Butterfly with Perpetuum Mobile continues at Wolverhampton Grand until 3 June, before moving on to Leicester's Curve Theatre 5-6 June, followed by Richmond, Bromley, Stoke, Aylesbury, and Hull. For more information on the rest of the tour visit www.northernballet.com.
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