There is a special significance about tonight’s performance of Titanic by Knowle Operatic Society.
One of the crew members was Ernest Allen, whose grandson lives in Coventry and will be at tonight’s performance.
So will Barbara Upton, who was a carer for a Titanic survivor, the late Edith Heisman. Mrs Heisman died soon after going on a voyage of remembrance in 1996 to the site of the tragedy at the age of 100.
Although in a wheelchair she was taken to the ship’s rail where she dropped a wreath into the dark waters in remembrance of her father who had perished there.
Edith remembered the last time she saw her father was when he was standing on deck smoking a cigar as she and her mother were being lowered into a lifeboat.
Barbara Upton will be reunited with Mrs Heisman’s son David and daughter Dorothy Kendall at the Titanic Heritage Trust’s service of remembrance at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday, April 28.
The Knowle production of Titanic continues at Solihull Library Theatre until Saturday.
There was a happy coincidence about the pen-portrait of former Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company member Sophie Bould in the programme that accompanied its excellent production of Thoroughly Modern Millie last week.
It just so happened that it appeared when Sophie, who had joined WCMC in 1994 and has moved on with some distinction to professional theatre, had stepped into the lead role of The Sound of Music in the West End.
Connie Fisher, the girl chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself on television to play Maria, had strained her voice and was taking a fortnight off.
Sophie had been playing the part of Liesl, the eldest of the Von Trapp children, in the London Palladium production.
I was fascinated to learn that primary school children are likely to find languages a compulsory subject.
Of more immediate benefit in keeping down my blood pressure would be the making of English a compulsory subject for the copywriters of television commercials and the actors who accompany them with their under-instructed voice-overs.
Well, English and the ability to recognise what isn’t English. There’s something called Couleur Experte that’s claimed to do wonders for your hair in one way or another. It’s French and clearly very difficult, because the American tones that accompany the commercial call it Colour Expert.
But a more widespread irritation, mainly among cosmetics commercials though also apt to pop up elsewhere, is the abolition of the word proved. It’s been almost universally replaced by proven, which adds nothing to the meaning and is a syllable longer, but which seems to have been seized upon by the copywriters who presumably think it’s a bit more up-market.
This is bad enough, but the pain goes deeper – because the people reciting the word don’t know how to pronounce it. They invariably say it as if it is prove with an N on the end. When written, that’s what it is, of course – but it should be pronounced proven, to rhyme with woven and cloven.
Meanwhile, I see that our policemen are being taught Urdu to save their customers from having to learn English. Why, instead, can’t something be done about the people whose failure with their native tongue is inflicted nightly upon the nation?
Sutton Coldfields’s two little theatres scored heavily in the Birmingham Festival of Acting and Musical Entertainment (BFAME) at Solihull’s Dovehouse Theatre.
Highbury Little Theatre was awarded the trophies for outstanding achievement (Tartuffe), the best supporting cast (Tartuffe) and best set (Time of My Life).
Sutton Arts Theatre claimed the trophies for full-length drama (She Stoops to Conquer, directed by Mavis Atkinson and Claire Armstrong-Mills), direction (Everybody Loves Opal, directed by Claire Armstrong-Mills), technical achievement (Everybody Loves Opal) and best female performance (Liz Webster).
I hear that something different is afoot with Great Witley Operatic Society’s production of Merrie England at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, at the end of the month.
Birmingham-based professional director Andrew Potter has revamped the script into something more Shakespearian, which adds humour and gives the opportunity to interpret the production in a completely new way.
The musical director is Dr. Donald Hunt, who is frequently to be found conducting the Cape Town Philharmonia Choir. He is principal of the Elgar School of Music in Worcester, where he is also responsible for the specialist choral group, the Elgar Chorale, and the Elgar Camerata, a newly formed professional orchestra.
Merrie England will run from March 27-31.
I suppose I have seen Orpheus in the Underworld at least once every five years for something over 30 years – but it has taken Astwood Bank Operatic Society to tell me that Styx, the servant of Pluto in Hades in Offenbach’s Olympian romp, has a first name.
There he was, listed with a really believable Greek name: John Styx.
Moreover, I’m told that this highly likely label is supported in at least two websites. So he’s been suddenly revealed to me as a man of mystery. Two mysteries, in fact.
Why have I not seen him accorded his full name in any other production – and, of course, why on earth, or even why in Hades, John?
Bus Stop, Grange Players, Grange Playhouse, Walsall (to Saturday).
84, Charing Cross Road, Oldbury Repertory Players, Barlow Theatre, Langley (to Saturday).
Titanic, the Musical, Knowle Operatic Society, Solihull Library Theatre (to Saturday).
42nd Street, Walsall Operatic Society, Lichfield Garrick (to Sunday).
A Man for all Seasons, Highbury Little Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (Mar 13-24).
Bella in the Wychelm, Stourbridge Theatre Company, Stourbridge Town Hall (Mar 17-24).
The Gondoliers, Birmingham Savoyards, Old Rep (Mar 20-24).
Last Tango in Lower Wick, Swan Theatre Amateur Company, Swan Theatre, Worcester (Mar 21-24).
The Ghost Train, Norbury Theatre, Droitwich (Mar 21-24).
Beyond a Joke, Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (Mar 22-31).