Theatre: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

Performed at Birmingham Rep

A performance at the Birmingham Rep is already a winner as it’s an exceptional theatre (except for the lack of an aisle in the middle meaning a very long row to get in and out of past c24 pairs of knees, but, still the theatre is a pleasure to be in). 

The story of Little Voice, the introverted young girl with the big voice too match every diva is about to unfold before me.

I hear a soundtrack of adverts and music of the 1980s as I make my way to my seat gawking the fantastic set. It depicts a two up, two down house and the audience immediately finds that often two scenes are witnessed at the same time.

The dialogue doesn’t let up, despite the minute cast of six, but it’s good that two are pretty quiet, Little Voice herself and silent Sadie, best friend of LV’s mum Mari . Mari is by far the character with the most lines, most often consisting of made up language followed by a ripple of audience amusement.

Despite the serious undertones of the reclusive, yet talented daughter, her insecure, but over-bearing widowed mother and the sleazy, pushy talent scout, there are jokes throughout. The play is not as violent as the film as I recall it (from a long time ago) but I wouldn’t want to see Ray, Mari’s current squeeze and self-appointed show biz agent be particularly aggressive on a stage a few feet away from me. Plus fake hitting someone is a tricky manoeuvre to pull off.

As is the fire on stage – I could feel it getting warm and was worried for the shiny showbiz curtain lining the back wall! Another stand out moment is with the Jackson Five’s I Want You Back as the soundtrack.

A fantastic performance by all with so many great scenes, this one is going to be remembered long after the curtain comes down. Catch it if you can. Tickets from Birmingham Rep till 30th May.

By editor and founder Rickie J. Tweet on @RickieWrites or @BrumFaves

Photos courtesy of Birmingham Rep.

 

Billy the Kid - His Life in Music!

Presented by Livestock at Stan’s Café.

Based on the life/myth/legend of Billy the Kid, this performance combines music and comedy. With just two actors performing a multitude of parts, accents and sexes, there is a lot to take in.

The show profits from the well-known facts as we know them and twists them to comic effect with the funniest moment coming with their take on a Shangri-La’s track followed by a classic, well-known by fans of ice –skating.

Full of quirks and originality, I’m thoroughly entertained and the hour or so goes by so fast.

Catch it while you can!

Book tickets here

#Billythekidlive

Photos courtesy of Livestock.

 

The Brit Youth Theatre

By Lewis Wescott

I’ve been involved with The Brit Youth Theatre since it was founded in 2005 but am very rarely seen on stage… Having worked my way up I am now Stage Manager which means I coordinate everything ‘behind the scenes’ and production week I sit at a desk side of stage with a script and ‘call’ the show; directing everything backstage - scenery, flight team, sound and lights.

Unlike other local performing arts stage schools, The Brit Youth Theatre work towards performances on stage at the end of each term. It keeps the cast motivated with drive, energy and excitement! I love the buzz of working in a live theatre environment, bringing the whole rehearsal process to life and seeing how proud parents are after each performance!

Our tutors are professionally trained actors with film, TV and West End theatre credits. Steve (co-founder) is still on stage in London 6 days a week as ensemble and understudy to Dad in Billy Elliot as well as teaching at Brit Youth!

Some of the children in our productions have been with us from the start and I’ve seen them grow massively in their abilities, performances but also into confident young adults. Many have gone on to Drama schools, TV and theatre work and even onto The X Factor! Having contacts in the industry means we are able to put children forward for castings to give them invaluable experiences.

The children involved are from the ages of 6-18 and classes are divided into 6-11 and 12-18 who rehearse separately then at the end of term everybody comes together into one big group!

We present 2 shows a year, this year on 22nd December we are putting on Brit Youth Rocks, a revue show with lots of opportunity for aspiring talent to shine! In June 2014 we are excited to present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. These are always put on at professional theatres in Birmingham such as The Crescent and Midlands Arts Centre.

Classes are held on Sundays at 10am-12.30pm in Sutton Coldfield at Bishop Walsh School and in Solihull from 2-4.30pm at The Dovehouse Theatre. If you or your child would like to be involved in our fantastic productions, please visit www.thebrityouththeatre.co.uk or call Michelle on 07958 949 858.

By Lewis Wescott, Stage Manager at The Brit Youth Theatre. Follow the team at @BritYouth or Facebook.

Photos: The Brit Youth Theatre

Introducing Birmingham Fest

From the editor If proof was needed that Birmingham is a creative city, another superb and independent festival has just been launched. You would, of course, have been living on the moon (without Wi-Fi) if you deny that there is more going on in Birmingham than we can fit into our tiny packed out 5.5” screen diaries, but the joy is to embrace it all. Even if you’re unable to go, then tell your chatty colleague who would go to the opening of a door, the guy on the bus who listens to his music too loud and the woman moaning about being bored behind you in the post office queue. (She needs to go self-service, that’s entertainment in itself).

BF Bham Fest Collage

So Birmingham Fest started last Friday, is on till 28th July, and I had the pleasure of popping along to the preview. I must admit, I hadn’t prepared for two hours of previews but that’s what I got!

Some highlights for me included ‘The Ledge’, a dark comedy about someone about to end their life from the 14th floor, powerful performances in ‘The Inferno Kid’, which features a disabled, depressed former wrestling star and ‘The Confessions of Jon-Jak Crusoe’, a one man, verbose show by the excellent Gareth Owen.

I enjoyed the opening few minutes showcased by Augustus Stephens talking about going mad but telling the tale, ‘Women at the Edge’ which gave us the biggest laughs of the evening along with some knitting tips and witnessing just one of the short stories from ‘Taking Care of Business‘ makes me want to see more. I’ve already booked to see ‘I Am a Blackbird’ by Kate Walton (also previewed) at the excellent Crescent Theatre plus there is music, burlesque and dance!

Billed as a pre-Edinburgh fringe, Birmingham Fest has performances for every budget with many tickets at around the £5 mark. So take a look at the programme and pop along to be entertained at The Crescent, Blue Orange, Old Joint Stock or AE Harris do tell us what you think!

Contact Birmingham Fest creator Darren 'making our great city, greater' Haywood on info@birminghamfest.co.uk or via Twitter on @BhamFest

 

By Rickie J , founder of Birmingham Favourites and can be contacted via @BrumFaves or @RickieWrites