The programme for last week’s A Murder Is Announced brought the total that Jane Frisby has researched, written and produced for Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre to something close to the 75 mark – and it marked the end of an era.

Jane finished her stint as the theatre’s administrator on Friday in order to join UCE Birmingham as a marketing assistant.

She believes that working on Crescent programmes has taught her just about everything there is to know about Alan Ayckbourn, Greek Tragedy and how to get a dragon to fly across the auditorium for Terry Pratchett’s Mort – to name, as they say, but a few.

She will be staying on as an associate member at the theatre, as is her husband Simon, who enjoys working as a volunteer on the bar, and she will continue to maintain and organise the theatre archives. She says: "It has been rewarding hard work since I started to catalogue and file the mountains of material back in 2001."

One of her odder Crescent moments came when a potential patron pointed out that it said 7.30pm on the ticket, but what time did the show start? There was also the time when she was asked whether the theatre could provide a separate dressing room for the doves of a visiting magician.

I reckon the UCE has something to live up to.


Hard on the heels of my thoughts about pantomime jokes, I was to be found last week at Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton.

And when it was all over, there were families stepping out on the pavement, trying – and failing – to say, "One smart fellow, he felt smart." (This progresses implacably to two and three smart fellows, but I need not trouble you any further).

Have a happy Christmas.


Wassail, Crescent Players, Highbury Hall, Moseley (to tomorrow; & Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (ends tonight).
Puss in Boots, Priory Theatre, Kenilworth (to Jan 6).
Christmas Cabaret Concert, Young Rogues & Vagabonds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Civic Hall (tonight).
Beauty and the Beast, Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth (Dec 22-Jan 6).