Tag Archive: Great Wyrley


My only other encounter with Lollipop Theatre Arts was earlier this year when I attended their presentation of Me and My Girl.  But what could I expect this time? The Addams Family was a single performance resulting from a summer school. I learned afterwards, the kids had begun from reading initial scripts, auditions, then rehearsals to a full show in just nine days. I mean, come on, they were brilliant last time, but can you really pull off a show in nine days?

The Addams Family - Great Wyrley High School Theatre - August 17 2018. (Photo used with kind permission from Lollipop Theatre Arts)

The opener, When You’re an Addams, was outstanding. One of the best-delivered first numbers I’ve ever seen. And it was then I knew I was in for a treat.

Stand outs for me were Wednesday’s Growing Up, Just Around the Corner, Crazier Than You, What If? Live Before We Die and the exceptional The Moon and Me. Top track on the night, though, was Pulled, sung by the excellent Abbey Laycock (Wednesday Addams).

Of course, that’s not to say there weren’t other top performances. In fact, I couldn’t see a weak-link. Youth can be misinterpreted as inexperienced at times, but there was nothing of the kind here. Any of these artistes would be welcome in mine or any other company treading the boards.

Of the other principles, Thomas Gould played Gomez with a stage presence to be proud of. Supporting as his other half, Morticia, was Katie Hayes, who I can also not praise enough. And then we had Tom Horton as Fester. This kid will go far if he wants to. A natural entertainer. Other excellent showings came from Sasha Donoghue (Pugsley), Millie Cooper (Grandma), Emily Smith (Mal), Amy Horton (Alice) and Alex Jeffreys (Lucas). A special mention must also go to Florie Miles (Lurch) who apart from creating a great character, had the difficult task of keeping a straight face throughout.

Supporting well were a troop of dancers and ensemble who looked as if they were having a great time (Loved the corpse bride outfit).

The Addams Family was directed by Lucy-Ellen Parker with choreography from Helen Stone and musical direction of a good orchestra by Matthew Davis.

Asking about the summer school (I still couldn’t quite get into my head – nine days), I was told the cast are there every day, then return home to cram-up. And it showed. This did not have the look of a holiday project, more a polished production which had been months in the making. Perhaps there is something to be said for this type of method. With the intenseness of the shorter period, there is less chance of forgetting what you have learnt than with a weekly schedule spanning months. You’d have expected rawness, and mistakes, but none were obvious to me. And for the rest of the audience, it was pure faultless entertainment.

So twice now I’ve seen Lollipop who really deserve a bigger audience. And I’m sad I was on my own this time as I want to share them with my friends. Spread the message, folks. This is a great company.

The Addams Family – Great Wyrley High School Theatre – August 17 2018

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if happy endings were reversed and heroes suffered while the wicked reigned supreme? Well, Aldridge Musical Comedy Society (AMCS) have the answer with a hilarious return to the world of panto in Once Upon a Time. Here we see the fairytale good guys pitting their wits in order to defeat familiar arch nemesis’ yet again.

Next year, AMCS will celebrate 50 years as a society and have been performing quality productions throughout that time. Once Upon a Time will be no exception.

With an original script by Mark Nicholls (whose 2010 production of Dick Whittington won a NODA award for best pantomime), the show features song after song which will have you singing all the way to Neverland. Great voices, exceptional acting and brilliant dance. Numbers include: Toxic, Let it Go, Somebody to Love, You Can’t Stop the Beat, Uptown Funk and a marvellous rendition of Cell Block Spell Block Tango.

In addition to the direction of Mark Nicholls, Once Upon a Time features music arranged by Mark Baylis, choreography from Sarah Hemming and costumes, Sarah Carter.

Once Upon a Time is on at the Great Wyrley High School Theatre: Thursday 10, Friday 11 and Saturday 12 November (1930 start) with additional matinee on Saturday 12 November (1430 start).

Great value and entertainment for all the family. Tickets are £13/Adults, £11/Concessions, £7/Children with a Family Ticket (2+2)/£35. Tickets available by calling 01543 480626 or 07794 539271.

So come along and meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, Aladdin, Mad Hatter, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and many more defeat the combined might of Jaffar, Evil Queen, Maleficent, Ursula, Gaston and the Queen of Hearts. Plus, a little comic collaboration along the way from Captain Hook, Smee and the Ugly Sisters.

Has anyone ever read you a fairytale
and taken you to places, magical.
Where homes are made of gingerbread
and skies are always blue.
Where pumpkins turn to coaches
and wishes all come true.

Once Upon a Time (The Panto) – Great Wyrley High School Theatre – 10 to 12 November 2016

Cheers.


Nick

* Once Upon a Time Lyrics – Mark Schoenfeld & Barri McPherson

Being a regular attendee at productions staged by Aldridge Musical Comedy Society for some years, I had no reservations in recommending and subsequently, going to see their latest pantomime offering. Staged at Great Wyrley High School, Dick Whittington and the Pirate King is the sequel to the 2010 award-winning Dick Whittington, written and produced by long-time member, Mark Nicholls.

From the moment the music began and the pirates emerged from the rear of the auditorium while engaged in a sword fight, you were taken on a roller-coaster ride of superb acting, great song and wonderfully choreographed dance. An excellent well written script had time fly at some speed. Not only that, it was very funny. Pirates, a wheelchair bound voodoo lady, sea siren and a dancing cat. There was even an acrobatic monkey in amongst the usual suspects to be found in the universe Dick Whittington.

As a rock music lover, I admit to never having heard the song, Moves Like Jagger, before. However, I was thoroughly impressed, particularly by the camp geekiness of Joe Fisher playing James Swan during the number. He reminded me of a Matt Smith Doctor Who. Cool to be nerdy – right. And if I did crave a bit of the harder stuff, that was present with a brilliant rendition of Seven Seas of Rhye by Pirate King, Chris Parry and the full company. You can’t beat a bit of Queen.

The other song which springs to mind was the Alice and Angelica Marley duet, Defying Gravity, performed respectively by Nikki Watts and Hattie Sketchley-Bates. Oh, I do hate reviewing, it’s hard for the author not to mention everybody but as one of the songs stated, You Would If You Could. Take my word, they were all great, as was the music provided by the orchestra.

The Scooby Doo style chase had me in stitches during a rendition of Help, and I just remembered, the glove puppets who provided backing vocals on Xanadu. Surreal, or what?

Pirate King is the second in a proposed trilogy. Hopefully, like 2010, this panto outing will gain awards as was the case then. Roll on the next installment and the final chapter for Dick and the merry gang. To be continued …

There was one thing. I didn’t think I’d be joining in with audience participation thus having to encourage my kids to perform the Funky Gibbon. It was an effort where I failed miserably. Where’s the spirit of joining in with young folk these days?

Cheers.

Nick

Great Wyrley is the venue this week for Return to the Forbidden Planet, the latest production from the excellent Aldridge Musical Comedy Society. From Thurs 17 to Sat 19 May (7.30pm plus 2.30pm Sat Matinee), rock & roll meets outer space as classic songs: Great Balls of Fire, Good Vibrations and many more, reach across the solar system.

For over 40 years, AMCS has been putting out quality productions and Return to the Forbidden Planet, will be no exception. Tickets are £12/adult & £9/concessions. However this week, if you use the code Tempest, there is a £2 reduction.

The show is being staged at Great Wyrley Performing Arts School Theatre, Hall Lane, Great Wyrley. Tickets are still availabler and can be obtained by calling 01543 480626 or by going to the AMCS website www.aldridgemcs.co.uk – Barring that, email me via this site or Twitter, and I’ll get someone to call you back.

Cheers.

Nick

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