The latest unofficial award for professionalism in the face of adversity must go to Sutton Arts Theatre’s Emily Armstrong – Fairy Bow Bells for in the group’s Dick Whittington.

Last week’s first night – Thursday – found Emily needing to add an unexpected dimension to her bubbly account of her character sporting a mobile telephone built into her magic wand. She came on and discovered that the brand new sound system, installed the previous day, was not working.

Inside, she was probably curling up at the edges, but stalled for time by inviting the patrons to join her in singing Jingle Bells – three times, interspersed with interested enquiries into the wings about the problem.

In fact, we had the sound of silence throughout the first half. But Emily was an excellent example of how to meet an emergency. The audience loved her Fairy Bow Bells for it. The production ends on Saturday.

n?There’s a line in Separate Tables, “Don’t quibble, Gladys.” Terence Rattigan wrote it in 1954 and it catches the ear – but not nearly as effectively as the “Don’t quibble, Sybil” that Noel Coward penned for Private Lives nearly a quarter of a century earlier. The Rattigan version does not achieve the same delighted response from an audience, but this was just an incidental thought that occurred during the recent excellent production of Separate Tables by Harborne’s Moorpool Players.

John Healey’s production did not have a weak link and was a credit to all involved – yet another demonstration that certain superior beings really should get out more, instead of mocking amateur theatre.

n?Members of Highbury Theatre Centre will be linking with the choir of Emmanuel Church, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, on Sunday evening – for a carol service with a difference.

The choir will sing traditional hymns, but the thespians will ensure that readings from the Bible will have a theatrical twist.

And afterwards, there is an invitation to go for mince pies and mulled wine.