There's no need to be funny if you're a Brummie: your accent does it for you.

The findings of a study by the Paramount Comedy Channel are probably great news for comedians like Jasper Carrott and Lenny Henry - but they also help to explain why Wallop Mrs Cox, the bouncy and nostalgic musical set in Birmingham, is never likely to rivet West End audiences with its story.

They would be too busy laughing at what the dialogue sounded like to concentrate on what it said - because, it is suggested, anyone with a Birmingham accent sounds thick and is in danger of being assumed to be exactly that.

This may be so, although people whose Yorkshire tones are relayed by radio or television to within 25 miles of the Bull Ring are equally likely to be thought of as sounding daft whatever they say - eminently suitable clothes horses for those strange elongated shorts that come halfway down the shins and make their wearers look demented before they even open their mouths.

And it's odd, isn't it, how radio and television consistently demonstrate the inability of nonBrummies to produce the much-scorned accent of the Second City. Perhaps it's as well that stage plays rarely seem to contain a character from Birmingham.

Even so, the almost total inability of professional thespians to produce the much-derided tones, or anything like them, points to a need for theatre schools to have the accent drummed into their students before they are let out to swell the massed ranks of the incompetent.

It's clearly something that's missing from the curriculum, and every failed imitator makes it ever more apparent that it ought to be there.

Ian Thompson, former chairman of the Crescent Theatre, has been appointed operations development director of Birmingham's £4 million canalside venue.

With the theatre's first booking for the new season - a production of Monkeys in Toytown by New Mercury Theatre - opening on Tuesday next week, a vital operation that was still missing on Monday was the availability of the Crescent's brochure.

It's a gap that has been waiting to be filled for weeks and one that was awaiting Ian Thompson, without being his responsibility, when he stepped into the newly-created post.

The problem, it seems, is the theatre's success in attracting bookings from other groups: the embryo brochure has just kept on growing.

"It's got fuller and fuller and fuller. It's been imminent for the last few days but it's become almost a novel."

All the same, it's a novel that nobody has been able to read and its absence cannot have done much for either the Crescent's own bookings or those of its hirers at a time when Ian Thompson says that the theatre is now being used almost to its limit.

His specific role is to find other ways of creating revenue by such means as expanding the props and wardrobe hire side of the enterprise. Not that he has concerns about what may or may not have been done in the past.

"I just think we have to consolidate on what we've done. A lot depends on our being recognised as a theatre, and we've done that. As long as we keep up the standard and variety, I'm not sure there are things we can actually improve on - although I would love to improve our audience attendance figures in the main house."

That, of course, is where a brochure should have started to help weeks ago.

A huge party is in store for former members of Coventry Youth Operetta Group on Sunday, October 1.

It will mark the quarter-century that has elapsed since Mark Thor-burn - now assistant editor on Amateur Stage - began his 15-year stint as the group's director, staging twice-yearly shows with huge casts of about 100 youngsters.

The Butts Arena, Coventry, will be the venue from noon to 5 pm, when former YOGerts - including at least one from Australia and others like singer Mark Rattray who have made their way on the professional stage - will renew friendships and catch up on what everyone has been doing.

But Mark Thorburn is anxious that nobody turns up on spec and upsets the catering arrangements. Any profit will go to the present YOG company. He can be contacted at or by telephone on 01494 713728 and 07951 527385.

Admission prices are: adults with hot buffet, £17 (entrance only, £10); children with children's menu, £8.50 (entrance only, up to 12 years old, £5).

The Old Rep receives appropriate recognition in a new book called Theatres of Achievement (Entertainment Technology Press, 298 pp, £29.95).

As the predecessor of Birmingham's present Repertory Theatre, it was built in 1913 by Sir Barry Jackson, who was to become the guiding light for a repertory company that attained international acclaim and whose roll of honour is studded with names like Laurence Olivier, Paul Schofield, Albert Finney, Ralph Richardson, Noel Coward, Derek Jacobi, Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans and Richard Chamberlain.

In the book, it is among theatres from all over Britain that are lovingly evoked by author John Higgins and photographer Adrian Eggleston.

Our friends the gremlins have made their presence felt with intermittent references to a premier, by which is meant the first performance of a show rather than a prime minister - but I'm sure such distractions will be resolved in the second edition which it clearly deserves.