Tag Archive: Musical


This was my second experience of Trinity Musical Theatre Company, having seen their offering of The Witches of Eastwick twelve months ago. So, would this year’s production also deliver satisfaction?

Return to the Forbidden Planet – Dormiston Mill Theatre – 4 November 2017

The first thing to note is the cast are already on stage as the audience enter the auditorium. A good effect which grabs your attention as soon as you hit the seats. An impressive set with costumes reminiscent of Sci-Fi films, one of which Forbidden Planet is famous. In particular, the clone-like appearance of the females which had me thinking of Gerry Anderson’s UFO series of the 1970s.

The show has a low-key opening with flight attendants giving a demonstration of safety precautions. Different, but amusing. Then we have countdown and blast off to the sound of Wipe Out. What caught me straight away was how full the stage was. This was much down to members of the Linzi G School of Dance. A great collaboration which not only sees additional energy and interaction on stage, it also gives pupils experience to add to the CV.

Any fan of rock and roll will love Forbidden Planet; the hits come one after another. Great Balls of Fire, Good Vibrations and Young Girl, to name a few. And a good way to end the show with a medley of tunes, culminating with the comic, Monster Mash.

This is a strange show for me because there is so much I don’t like to begin with. I’m not a fan of the clunky Shakespearian dialogue, neither do I like the cop-out reprise at the start of Act Two where you have a different conclusion to the previous scene, but that’s just the writer in me. The fact I have niggles with the original Bob Carlton script goes to show how good a job the cast and crew have done to get me still raving positive about what was before me.

On the night there were excellent performances from Mitch Bastable as Tempest, Beth Berwick-Lowe (Miranda) and Pat Lewis (Prospero). Also supporting well were Naomi-Leeanne Millard (Gloria), Steve Taylor (Ariel), Abigail James (Bosun) and Mark Moran (Cookie). Okay, Cookie was a trifle older than expected, but this was dealt with in a tongue-in-cheek way at the end of Teenager in Love.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable night out. The biggest compliment I can give, though is that on the way to the theatre, I had the London Cast Recording CD on in the car. Trinity’s performance was better. Production for the show was in the experienced hands of Andy Poulton with choreography by Lindsey Grant (of Linzi G fame) and musical direction from Dan Tomkinson.

Return to the Forbidden Planet – Dormiston Mill Theatre – 4 November 2017

Next year, Trinity turn their hands to The Wizard of Oz and on current evidence, it will be another great show.

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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This was my second experience of Bournville Musical Theatre Company, having witnessed their concert, Through the Decades, last year. Therefore, I hoped I would also be well entertained with a full show at the prestigious Crescent Theatre.

The Pajama Game – The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – 6 June 2017

The theatre itself is a fine setting, even if my seat, F2, did collapse as I sat on it, meaning I had to move forward to an empty one. But these things happen, especially to me, and I should expect it by now.

With music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, The Pajama Game tells of the Sleep-Tite Factory and the workers’ fight  for a pay rise. The conflict plays out aside a love story between new factory superintendent, Sid Sorokin and the head of the grievance committee, Babe Williams, both acted superbly with powerful vocals from Steve Kendall and Rhian Clement.

Kicking off the show was a good overture by the band who shone all night, although I feel we could have done with some lighting on the house curtains to heighten anticipation of what was to come. Then, after a brief introduction and title song from character, Vernon Hines (the excellent, John Morrison), the company pulled audience attention further onto the stage with Racing with the Clock. In fact, it was the combination of chorus vocals and choreography in this number, plus Hernando’s Hideaway and especially Once a Year Day, which stood out. So much movement and background activity going on, there was no chance of getting bored. And boredom was never an option because in the words of time management obsessive, Hines; “Tempus fugit, tempus fugit.” Time literally did fly as before I knew it, the first act ended for a quick drink and an eager return to the auditorium for more of the same. Pajama Game is a fast-moving show which seems a lot shorter than it is. And that’s a great testament to the original script of George Abbott and Richard Bissell.

Other enjoyable numbers included, I’m Not at All in Love, I’ll Never Be Jealous Again, Her Is, Small Talk, Hey There and Seven and a Half Cents. I’d have to say, though, my favourite of the night was Think of the Time I’ll Save. Well written comedy mixed with good choreography.

There were further comedic scenes and many of my favourites involved the duo of Hines and Gladys, for whom Natalie Buzzard gave an outstanding performance as Gladys. My main love in a personal acting sense is when I create or interpret a character, and Natalie did just that, truly becoming Gladys.

Now I’ve mentioned dance, but special acclaim must go to showpiece number, Steam Heat. This was a routine which certainly raised the temperature in the auditorium, courtesy once more of Natalie Buzzard along with Sarah Sheppard, Peter Holmes, Helen Gauntlett, Sophie Wood, Kai Murai and Verity Smith.

I can’t list everybody involved but giving fantastic support to the leads were Kris Evans (Prez), Jill Hughes (Mabel), Karen Lane (Mae), Jonathan Eastwood (Hasler), Rebecca Lowe (Poopsie), Chloe Turner (Brenda), John Clay (Pop), Phil Snow (Max), Adam Slack (Charley), Phil Holloway (Joe), and an energetic ensemble.

The Pajama Game was well directed by Ann-Louise McGregor with stunning musical direction from Chris Corcoran and sublime choreography by Sadie Turner.

The main thing to note, the cast looked like they enjoyed it and it’s always a cert that if you can project that, the audience will have a fantastic time too. I know I did.

The Pajama Game – The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – 6 June 2017

The Pajama Game is on at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 10 June with tickets still available at this link.

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

So far in 2016 I have attended productions ranging from lavish shows at the Birmingham Hippodrome to an academy performance of Year 13 students (which to date remains my favourite of the year). With that display of upcoming talent in mind, I thought I would go one step further and see things at a much earlier state of development.

Artrix Theatre  - A Tale of the Railway - The Star Project

Founded in 2008, The Star Project allows children aged 4 to 18 to express themselves in musical theatre through the medium of singing, dance and acting. The project has three schools based across the Midlands region and A Tale of the Railway saw a coming together of these in a major production. Staged at the impressive Artrix Theatre, each school had the opportunity to shine with roles changing several times throughout the show, offering students the opportunity to give their own interpretation of the parts. And of course, with so many on view due to there being three schools, everybody had a chance.

A Tale of the Railway is the story of a young family who uproot and go to live by a country railway line, telling the adventures they enjoy and about all the people they meet. What was most evident was the absolute confidence from all the young people on stage. Confidence is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in performing arts and it’s a credit to the Star Project management and teachers that everybody looked so comfortable. The singing was powerful, the dance, faultless, and the acting … well, nobody put a foot wrong from where I was sat.

It’s good to see talent nurtured from an early age and encouraging regarding the genesis of stars of tomorrow. If this amount of quality can be seen now, it only bodes well for the future.

The show was directed and choreographed by Star Project Director, Jo Edwards with Project Manager, Sarah Carter as Assistant Director. At the end of the show, after much deserved ovations and presentations, the audience were treated to a reprise of the project’s recent performance in London. A few weeks earlier, many of the students had the opportunity to tread the boards at none other than Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End, the very arena where Phantom of the Opera has been staged for 30 years. By the evidence I saw, this would not be the only time pupils from The Star Project will grace that famous stage.

It is an understatement to say I was impressed. I have never applied star ratings when doing reviews, but if I were to rate the Star Project, they would be a Five Star Project.

The Star Project has schools in Barnt Green, Droitwich and Solihull and can be found at this link.

The Star Project

Cheers.

Nick

This week, the Forest Art Centre is home to a murder mystery musical from Aldridge Musical Comedy Society: Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 April (7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday Matinee),

For over 40 years, AMCS has been putting out quality performances and Deduction, will be no exception. Written by musical director Ben Batt, this original production pays homage to murder mysteries of old.

Great detective, Noel Uckholmes is invited to a fancy dress ball in order to witness the reading of the last will and testament of Lady Stourbridge, a woman killed in suspicious circumstances. Each of those gathered is not only a potential beneficiary, but also suspect for the murder and as the evening progresses, we find she is not the only one to meet a sticky end. But will you be able to deduct whodunnit?

The show is at Forest Art Centre, Hawbush Lane, Leamore, WS3 1AG. Tickets are £10/adult & £8/Concessions with a family bundle (2+2), £30. They can be obtained by calling 0845 111 2898 or by going to the AMCS website.

www.aldridgemcs.co.uk.

Deduction - Aldridge Musical Comedy Society

Cheers.

Nick

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