Bournville Musical Theatre Company left the audience in rapturous applause last night after their production of Kiss Me, Kate at The Crescent Theatre.
Kiss Me, Kate follows the plight of a theatrical group attempting to perform Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the turmoil unleashed as 10Gs are lost, flowers end up in the wrong dressing room and past relationships are unravelled.
Lilli/Kate was played superbly by Rhian Clements with a particularly feisty performance of I Hate Men, which was brilliant. As her fiery relationship with her former husband Fred/Petruchio (played by John Morrison) reaches breaking point, the tension offstage translates into their performances onstage, which was hilarious.
Another relationship in turmoil is that of Lois/Bianca (played by Lucy Evans) and Bill/Lucentio (played by Dan Jones). Why Can't You Behave? and Always True To You In My Fashion was cheekily performed by Evans and her rendition of Tom, Dick and Harry with the support of Jones, Adam Heeley as Gremio and Ralph Toppin as Hortensio was fantastic.
Kris Evans and Jonathan Eastwood formed the exceedingly amusing gangster duo who arrive to collect the 10G debt. As they end up forming part of the production, as two fools, they had the audience in fits of laughter. A particular highlight is in the second half as they break into Brush Up Your Shakespeare.
Talking of the second half, the opening scene with Too Darn Hot was a triumph. The choreography was impeccable from Chloe Turner, executed expertly by the cast, with a special mention to Jordan McKenzie whose dancing was sublime.
The band were stunning under the fabulous musical direction from Chris Corcoran, coupled with the wonderful harmonies delivered from the entire ensemble, it was clear that a lot of time, effort and energy was put into this delightful performance under the direction of Ann-Louise McGregor.
For more information and to book tickets for Kiss Me, Kate, which runs until 16 May, click here or call the Crescent Theatre box office on 0121 643 5858.
Based on the 1990 romantic fantasy, Ghost The Musical tells the very human tale of a spiritual love
that transcends the greatest of barriers. Taking care to respect the classic screenplay, WBOS present a stellar re-telling of the story with a few tweaks and a lot of talent.
The show opens with Here Right Now performed by the three leads: John Wetherall as Sam, Laura
Stanford as Molly, and George Stuart as best-friend Carl. The relationship between the trio is played to perfection throughout, with comedy, anger and tenderness shifting to reflect the unfolding story, it was really engaging to watch. In particular, the scenes between Molly and Carl made for brilliant viewing: grief, awkward affection and the ultimate betrayal narrated with real emotion by the omniscient Sam.
Stuart’s portrayal of turncoat Carl was dynamic and conflicted, and he commanded the stage with
soaring vocals and confidence far beyond his 22 years. Wetherall was equally well-cast, and played
the present and departed Sam with depth. Most impressive, though, was the brilliant turn by
Stanford as Molly. Her beautiful hushed tones and impressive belt gave real heart to her anguish,
particularly in With You, which left few dry eyes in the audience.
Laura Wynter took on the role of reluctant psychic Oda Mae Brown, made famous in the film by
Whoopi Goldberg. Whilst elements of the character were a rightful homage, Wynter gave a great
individual performance whilst giving the audience the eccentric personality they know and love. A
gorgeous gospel voice, she shone in numbers Are You A Believer? and I’m Outta Here, but never at
the expense of the scene.
Special mention must go to Maison Kelly as Subway Ghost, whose offbeat and tormented spirit was played with conviction.
The ensemble and dance ensemble had clearly worked hard also, as numbers were well sang and
executed with purpose and precision. The storytelling too should be applauded, their presence set
the scene and supported the principals to move the narrative forward with pace, with More, Rain/Hold On and the subway transition to watch out for as particular highlights.
WBOS did a superb job at bringing this classic to the local stage, with incredible emotion and
performances worthy of any West End theatre. A definite hit, if you can still get your hands on a
ticket this is not one to miss.
To book tickets for West Bromwich Operatic Society's production of Ghost The Musical, which runs until 16 May click here, or call the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre's box office on 01902 429 212.
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Well, well, well. What can we say? Trinity Players were outstanding tonight. From start to finish their energy levels were well and truly through the roof and they captured the audience as soon as the music started.
The host of recognisable characters were brought beautifully to life, each actor and actress placing their own stamp on the part. We could sit here all night listing off every single cast and creative member, because it was clear to see that everyone's heart and soul was in this production.
The ensemble was one of the strongest we have seen on the amateur circuit, with dazzling harmonies and excellent precision; from dancing through to characterisation. It was clear that they had been supported expertly under the musical direction of Tim Harding and the stellar band.
Frances Corbett shone as the bubbly Tracey Turnblad, injecting oodles of passion into the part and thoroughly excelled playing the larger-than-life character. The Turnblad family was completed by Bob Atkins as Wilbur and Michael Grant as Edna. Grant was excellent, he captured the character of Edna perfectly and Atkins made an adorable Wilbur, with a particular highlight being You're Timeless To Me, joyously performed by the both of them.
Tracey's best friend Penny Pingleton, was played hilariously by Rebecca Perry with her deeply religious Mother, Prudy Pingleton, played fantastically by Shirley Gladwin. Ed Mears oozed charisma as Tracey's love interest Link Larkin, and Dane Fox's supple vocals as Seaweed were glorious.
The selfish Amber Von Tussle was played brilliantly by Kayleigh Murray and Jennifer Mears took the role of her mother, delivering an exceptional performance of Miss Baltimore Crabs. Stephen Blower added to the fantastic vocal talent on display in his role as Corny Collins.
Now, we've seen a few show-stopping performances in our lives, but wow, I Know Where I've Been thoroughly blew us away tonight. Leigh-Ann James took on the feisty role of Motormouth Maybelle bringing soul, sass and swagger. Not only was it an absolute pleasure to watch, her vocals were spine-tingling.
Special mentions must also go to Aoife Kenny for her angelic vocals in the role of Little Inez and Ann Dempsey for her amusing portrayal as the Matron.
With extensive choreographed routines created by Leigh-Ann James, the show was brought together under the stellar direction from Ben Field.
Trinity Players have excelled with this performance and it was delightful to see such an abundance of talent up on the stage. A huge congratulations to all involved.
Tickets are now incredibly limited, with additional seats released due to popular demand, so it's worth calling the box office on 07843 928830 because you don't want to miss this show!
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In case you missed it, we hosted our very first #LMTLive event with Trinity Players. Find out more here.
Solihull Arts Complex fell well and truly under the spell of the Witches of Eastwick tonight in Solihull Theatre Company's production of the same name.
The production is dedicated to one of their founder members, Chris Macrow, who tragically died following a cycling accident in 2014. The cast and production team have certainly done him proud.
The story revolves around the arrival of a mysterious and roguish character, Darryl Van Horne (played brilliantly by Michael Greene) to the town of Eastwick and his subsequent influence over three of the ladies in the town Jane Smart (played by Nicky Ginns), Sukie Rougemont (played by Anya Small) and Alex Spofford (played by Amy Price), giving them, among other things, magical powers! His arrival also impacts on other characters, notably the annoying town busybody Felicia Gabriel (played by Helen Gibbs) and Clyde Gabriel (played by Ian Page) whose story ends rather darkly and tragically (we won't give any spoliers!).
The three Witches, who actually flew at one point, gave strong and compelling performances. Their chemistry on stage really helped to put across the story and their harmonies were sung with conviction and sensitivity. They were ably assisted by a lively, energetic and well-drilled chorus. Special mention must go to Jo Murphy and Chris Johnstone in the roles of Jennifer Gabriel and Michael Spofford, who were excellent, singing Something so beautifully. Other special mentions, also, to twins Lucy and Hannah Dyer whose portrayal of the Little Girls really brought the show to life.
Katherine Allen gave a stellar performance as Fidel, even though she only had two words! They say silence is golden and in this case, it certainly was!
Credit must go to the production team of Andrew Johnson (Director), Chris Davis (Musical Director) and Emma Ridgers (Choreographer) who put together a slick, professional and enjoyable show.
Solihull really 'Danced with the Devil' tonight!
To book tickets visit Solihull Arts Complex website here or call the box office on 0121 704 6962.
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It never ceases to amaze us just how much time, effort, and money is invested in amateur dramatic productions. Managing a full time job, family commitments, and a rehearsal schedule must be a challenging task but it's clear to see that The Mellow Dramatics are at home on the stage; their passion and enthusiasm shines, enhancing their performance and captivating their audience. This evening we are transported to H.M. Prison, Larkhall for Bad Girls The Musical, where we are re-acquainted with the familiar characters from the popular ITV series which ran from 1999-2006.
Full of riots, romps, and rebellion the production is an exhilarating one, shocking and thrilling in equal measure. Though sad and pensive at times the audience are lifted by love, hope, and one woman's fight for justice.
With a strong voice and numerous suit jackets, Sharon Plummer shines as Scottish Wing Governor Helen Stewart. Her romance with prisoner Nikki Wade (played by Stacey Summers) is perfectly portrayed; full of chemistry and underlying tension a highlight of the show is their duet Every Night. The Prison Officers (aka Screws) embrace their roles and duties; cold, unsympathetic, and corrupt with the exception of Justin Mattison (played exceptionally well by John Davidson), a Screw with compassion who stands united with Miss Stewart.
The Two Julies (played by Natalie Veasey and Helen Parker) are a natural double act, providing entertainment and laughs throughout - watch out for their playful gestures during All Banged Up! Shell Dockley (played by Lucy Robinson) has great stage presence; loud and brash she is a force to be reckoned with, though the ignorant and menacing Jim Fenner (played by Andrew Warner) mistakenly thinks otherwise.
Directed by Donna Stephenson, the production uses clever 3D projection and features an incredibly talented live band, with Musical Direction from Rob Murray. A special mention goes to Natasha Ingham for her wonderful choreography, from 'A-List' to the grand finale, dances are well executed and full of energy. It is clear that there is a great spirit amongst the cast and their devotion does not go unnoticed - evident by the rapturous applause of the full house.
Bad Girls The Musical makes a surprisingly easy transition to the stage and genre of musical theatre thanks to the talented capabilities of The Mellow Dramatics. Do yourself a favour, stay out of trouble and get a ticket to this fantastic show.
Bad Girls The Musical runs at the delightful Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton upon Trent until Sat 16 May.Tickets are from £10 and can be booked by calling 01283 508100 or visiting www.mellow-dramatics.org/tickets.
I Love You Because is a new musical, first performed off-Broadway in 2006. It really is a show that restores faith in new musical theatre and thank goodness Starbuck Theatre Company decided this would be the show they would present as part of a mini-tour. Sarah Pavlovs, founder, director and also playing Marcy, said she wanted to take the show to different areas to make it accessible to more people and it was a great decision.
Set in modern-day New York, the show is based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with music by Joshua Salzman and lyrics from Ryan Cunningham.
The show features just 6 cast members and they are all fantastically brought to life by Starbuck Theatre Company. Opening with the company singing Another Saturday Night in New York, you instantly knew that you were going to witness something special on the stage. Their voices harmonised together expertly and the audience were hooked.
Austin has just caught his girlfriend cheating, so his brother, Jeff, takes him out on the town where they end up on a double date with actuary, Diana and Marcy, who has recently broken up with her boyfriend. Jeff was played endearingly and hilariously by James Kelly and paired with Karen Webb playing Diana, their comic timing was brilliant. Particular highlights included We're Just Friends (who knew there was a song out there about friends with benefits?) and That's What's Gonna Happen, which amusingly touched upon the perils of making a relationship exclusive.
Meanwhile, Austin and Marcy were played by Dean Bayliss and Sarah Pavlovs, respectively. They were each fantastic in their roles, Pavlovs delivered a mesmerising performance, superbly balancing the comedy and emotion that came with the role. Her rendition of Just Not Now was utterly beautiful. Bayliss made a remarkable Austin, capturing the sensitivity of the part along with dazzling vocals throughout. The show was completed with New York Man and New York Woman played by Jack Scott-Walker and Emma Hopcroft, taking on the guise of bar staff, baristas and waiters they were a great addition to an already stellar cast.
There was fantastic chemistry between all the characters throughout and when the company came together on stage it was abundantly clear how much love and passion had been poured into this show. The sublime harmonies throughout were a triumph under the musical direction of Ian Stephenson.
This production marks the first for Starbuck Theatre Company and it most certainly will grow from strength to strength after a performance like that. It was slick, professional and wonderfully directed. Keep your eye out for their show, you would not want to miss it!
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Youth Onstage is a brilliant platform in the Midlands that helps to develop singing, dancing and acting skills for 9 to 25 year olds. High School Musical at The Old Rep is their latest offering and it is truly amazing just how young and talented these people are.
The cast was led by Kia Gates and Tom Ashen playing the roles of Gabriella and Troy respectively. Gates brought a vulnerability to the role of Gabriella that was not just characterised in her acting, but her voice as well. Paired up with Ashen's vocals, there was some beautiful harmonies shared between them. It was hard to believe afterwards that Ashen is only 14, he's got amazing potential.
Jessica Walton delivered a stand-out performance as the spotlight-hungry Sharpay, with her voice shining through in both ensemble and solo numbers. Paired with the hilariously camp James Woodward as Ryan, they provided much of the comic relief throughout the show.
One of the most impressive performers of the night was Eboni Green, the fact she is only 12, her voice, characterisation and stage presence was exceedingly brilliant for someone of such a young age. Other strong supporting performances came from Harry Chapman as Chad and Georgia Sheward as Mrs Darbus, although it is difficult to single people out, because when the ensemble came together the harmonies were superb; thanks to the musical direction from Chris Corcoran.
It must be said, however, that Jay Alves was a ball of energy who was fantastic in the ensemble, his dancing, acting and enthusiasm was a pleasure to watch.
Tackling numerous scene changes, masses of choreography and an array of entrances and exits, the creative team set Youth Onstage a huge challenge that they welcomed with open arms. Under the direction of Deb Brook and choreography from Suzy Bleasdale, the entirety of Youth Onstage should be thoroughly proud of what they have achieved.
Youth Onstage's production of High School Musical plays at The Old Rep until Saturday 9 May. For more information click here.
When visiting the opera, it is customary to conjure images of lavish costumes, opulent scenery and the glorious retelling of deep and diverse stories to a rich musical backdrop. However, HighTime's Hansel and Gretel tells a very different kind of operatic story in their new and modern English translation, set to Englebert Humperdinck's original musical score.
We see Hansel and Gretel transported from their familiar little cottage by the woods into a more industrial setting encased within the fabric of a giant tent. The sparseness of the scenery and dowdy costumes remind us of the poverty-stricken life faced by the two children. There are no gingerbread houses here - instead, danger awaits in the form of a circus, designed to entice wayward children into the clutches of a greedy Ringmaster rather than a wicked witch. This new circus plot twist works well and, with the addition of some scenery changing clowns, takes the story down a whole new path (without any breadcrumbs, I'm afraid).
Alexa Mason has a lovely energy as Gretel. She is girly, sweet and endearing, her youthful portrayal matched nicely by the rich bell-like quality of her soprano vocals. Sian Cameron's grumpy and greedy Hansel is a good contrast, giving us just the right amount of stroppy 'older brother' and the brother/sister connection between the two is very clear and well defined. Excellent moments include the tender, harmonised Bedtime Prayer in Act One and the fantastically mischievous sweet-stealing scene in Act 2 (from a hotdog cart rather than a gingerbread house).
Their parents, played by Jon Stainsby and Wendy Dawn Thompson, also counteract well. Mother is harassed, depressed and scornful whilst Father is cheerful, masculine and strong and Jon Stainsby's delicious vocals hit the ear like melted chocolate.
Oliver Marshall takes on the role of the Ringmaster attempting to fatten Hansel up with sweets whilst Charlotte Ireland and Caroline Kennedy interject some pretty vocals as the Magician and Keeper of Birds. The addition of the Children's Chorus is also a lovely touch towards the end of the story.
Special note must be taken of the scenery moving clowns trio, brought to life by Liam Lewis, Miriam O'Brien and Joey Parsad. They give us some excellent examples of comical mime and all three evoke their individual characters with dexterity throughout the performance.
HighTime seek to create opera for all and in this, their inaugural performance, they have taken some great steps towards achieving that aim. A brave retelling of the original story, Hansel and Gretel will certainly whet your appetite.
Hansel and Gretel runs until 9 May at the Belgrade Theatre B2. Tickets are available by clicking here or by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055.
There is no denying that Sister Act is an infectious, toe-tapping musical and The Arcadians delivered just that tonight at The Crescent. Its feel-good nature is completely uplifting and the perfect remedy for those mid-week blues.
Sister Act was adapted for the stage, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater and it is a beast for any amateur theatre society to take on. But, the task of staging this musical is made easier when you have a talent like Nicole Appleby in your midst. Taking on the role of nightclub-singer-turned-nun, Appleby embraced the role of Deloris Van Cartier, brought it to life, put her own stamp on it and vocally shone through the entire night. Raise Your Voice and Sister Act were particular highlights and really demonstrate her versatility as a singer, from raising the roof to a completely stripped back performance of Sister Act.
As Appleby commanded the stage and led the ensemble of nuns in joyful song, Mairead Mallon delivered a stellar supporting performance as Sister Mary Robert, that girl can sing and what a voice she has! Not only was her voice superb, her characterisation was faultless throughout. Daniel Guzman charmingly played the role of Eddie Souther aka Sweaty Eddie and his performance of I Could Be That Guy excellently displayed his superb vocal range.
What's also great about Sister Act is the range of comedic character parts, there are plenty. Special mentions to the incredibly sarcastic Mother Superior Sarah Evans, Lisa Blissitt as the hip-hop sister Mary Lazarus, Alison Cooper as Mary Martin of Tours, Frank Foley as the ever-so endearing Monsignor O'Hara and Daniel Jackson as Pablo.
Raise Your Voice was the show-stopping song of the night and the moment when you had to pinch yourself and think, wow. Brilliant harmonies, with great musical direction from Lauren Gilbert. The show was brought together by fantastic directing and choreographing from Mary Johns, with some particularly hilarious moments as nuns were running round the convent and as Joey, TJ and Pablo got raunchy in Lady In The Long Black Dress.
All in all, a 'fabulous' evening of entertainment and if you need a show that will get your feet tapping and pop a smile on your face, look no further than Sister Act.
The Arcadians production of Sister Act runs until 9 May at the Crescent Theatre. Tickets are between £15 and £18 and you can click here to book, or call the Crescent Theatre box office on 0121 643 5858.
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Check out Love Midlands Theatre's interview with Nicole Appleby here.
Wow. Just wow. Walking out of the Old Rep Theatre last night, it was an incomparable feeling. The talent that was on that stage was incomprehensible. Every single BOA Musical Theatre student involved put their heart and soul into Little Women and it was an absolute joy to experience.
Little Women was originally written by and is based on the life of author Louisa May Alcott. Following the adventures of four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March, Jo is desperate to get her vivid books published, to no avail. When Professor Bhaer suggests writing something a bit closer to home, she weaves the story of herself and her sisters growing up in Civil War America.
The music throughout was utterly beautiful and how fantastic to see such a rarely performed show introduced to Birmingham audiences, by Year 13s! It is hard to imagine the majority of these students are 18, they all have such exciting futures ahead if last night is anything to go by. Taken on an emotional roller coaster, the audience are instantly introduced to the vivacious, tomboyish Jo, played endearingly and expertly by Elise Jones. Her stunning voice filled the theatre to the brim, especially in the closing number of Act One, Astonishing (and it was).
Supported by her sisters Meg, Beth and Amy, played respectively by Mia Richards, Louise Francis
and Charlotte King, they formed a formidable quartet. Francis' portrayal of Beth was excellent and her duet with Jones of Some Things Are Meant to Be was heart-wrenching.
Other stand out performances of the night came from Chelyr Hume playing Marmee, she flawlessly performed Here Alone and it was thoroughly mesmerising. Eliciting much of the laughter through the evening was the delightful performance from Alex Cardall playing Laurie. His energetic portrayal added something special to the amazing talent already on stage. Finally, Bradley Walwyn delivered a heart-warming performance as Professor Bhaer. There was a particularly touching moment at the end as Walwyn and Jones sang Small Umbrella in the Rain.
The ensemble were faultless, with spine-tingling harmonies, there was not one weak link. It is abundantly clear that BOA Musical Theatre have on their hands a melting pot of talent. This is what theatre is about, it made me proud to see this had been created and performed right in the heart of the Midlands.
With outstanding direction from Stephen Whitson, exquisite musical direction from Michelle King and excellent choreography from Amy Ferguson, it reinforces the absolute need for people in the Midlands to come and support the future Musical Theatre talent that was clearly at The Old Rep last night.
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