Members of Tudor Musical Comedy Society will be starting a week's cruise on their ocean-going liner the SS America when they launch Anything Goes on Tuesday.

Coincidentally, the run will include a gala night on Thursday for the RNLI ? 93 years to the night since Titanic hit her fateful iceberg on April 14, 1912.

The good news is that everything is going swimmingly and no lifeboats are going to be needed. More than a week before opening night at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, ticket sales had exceeded those for the previous three years.

This is in no small measure due to the fact that one of Karl Smith?s work colleagues at Arthur Price of England, the Lichfield cutlers and silversmiths, was wearing an RNLI Tshirt one day. Karl, general manager (wholesale) of the firm that made cutlery for Titanic, is an active member of Tudor and there was an inevitable conversation about the show and its charitable intentions.

This in turn was relayed to the RNLI?s Sutton Coldfield branch members ? who have now bought more than 120 tickets.

This is a splendid response to Tudor?s declared aim of donating the proceeds of the gala night raffle and a proportion of Thursday?s ticket sales to the RNLI ? which is itself a fine example of how amateur theatre can become involved in the community.

And there?s more. Karl Smith?s Tshirted colleague was in a position to give the society an Arthur Price silver-plated trinket dish, a replica of those that were sold in Titanic?s first-class barber shop, as a raffle prize for the gala night.


By Hall Green Little Theatre standards, its production of Under Milk Wood has a cast of thousands ? it?s actually some three dozen people playing about 65 parts ? and it contrasts sharply with the numbers involved in its recent revival of Blue Remembered Hills.

Clearly, patrons who turn up for the Dylan Thomas charmer that opens on Friday could not expect to be regaled with a show programme like that for Blue Remembered Hills, which the group presented in February.

There just would not be room for the expansive centre-spread that was accorded so fittingly to the Dennis Potter play by the simple expedient of deploying pictures of the seven actors taken when they were children.

The play is about children ? but it requires adults for all its youthful roles. That is why it was a stroke of inspiration to produce a programme with photographs going back in some cases several decades and giving the audience the chance to imagine how the action would have looked if all those childhoods had somehow coincided.


It seems that I unwittingly touched on an unnecessarily raw nerve a few weeks back, after seeing a Swan Theatre Amateur Company production of Alan Ayckbourn?s Joking Apart.

Rehearsals, it seems, had been needlessly plagued by an actor?s insistence on saying I instead of me at a particular point in the action, while all about him cringed.

It was one of those fartoonumerous cases where me is for no reason at all regarded as being beyond the pale, if not actually a dirty word, even though it is governed by a preposition.

The actual sentence he delivered was, ?It?s killed whatever there was between Louise and I? ? and on the night I went, he said it not once but twice, causing me to ponder the following Wednesday on whether the redoubtable Alan Ayckbourn could actually have written it.

The short answer is, no, he could not possibly ? but all the cajoling in the world had failed to sway the man who had been bludgeoning the Ayckbourn English throughout rehearsals and had now taken the assault into the actual performance.

The happy ending is that when I added my unsuspecting voice to the chorus of company disapproval on that distant Wednesday, he decided to deliver the line as written and got it right for the rest of the Worcester run.

It?s good to know we have our uses sometimes.


Members of Bromsgrove Operatic Society will contribute to the entertainment when the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visit the town tomorrow to open the Artrix ? its new theatre with a name as ugly as the unprepossessing building itself.

They will perform one of the numbers from Me and My Girl, which the group will present there next month.


Gloria Hunniford will be the guest of honour when Faur>?s Requiem is performed at The Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham in aid of The Caron Keating Foundation on Saturday next week.

There will be a matin>e and evening performance The programme will also feature the music of Verdi and Dvorak and aims to suit wider tastes by including songs of Dusty Springfield and The Carpenters.

Matthew Jones conducts the orchestra and choir. International singers Gillian Flinter (soprano) and Andrew Mayor (baritone) will also be raising their voices in a good cause.


Among the winners of regional musical awards at the Midland Area day of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall at the weekend were Stratford-upon-Avon Operatic Society for its production of My Fair Lady, Brownhills & Bloxwich Musical Theatre Company (The Road to Hell), Stourbridge Operatic Society (Jesus Christ Superstar), Bournville Musical Theatre Company (Carousel), St Augustine?s Musical Theatre Company, Solihull (The Sound of Music) and Studley Operatic Society (The Scarlet Pimpernel).

Success in the area?s new drama awards came to the Fellowship Players, of Walsall, for The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Kidderminster Operatic & Dramatic Society (Daisy Pulls It Off), Circle Players, for their Aldridge production of Cider with Rosie, Sutton Arts Theatre (Key for Two) and the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth (Brassed Off).

That Talisman production featured members of the Coventry (Jaguar) Band, playing and acting on stage alongside the Talisman cast.

West Bromwich Operatic Society?s programme for Ragtime won the area?s standard class and will now go forward into the national competition.


Timely comment from Bill Matthews, president of NODA, at the Midland Area Day: ?Everyone who has a nice young lady living with him is known in the press as having a partner ? except Prince Charles, who has a mistress.?