I shouldn't be surprised if there's a slight bewilderment in the set-building department at Birmingham's Crescent Theatre.
This year, in accordance with current Crescent tradition, the pre-Christmas show is set in a big house with a massive set needed to be built from scratch. Dial M for Murder opened on Saturday and will run to the end of next week.
And if Crescent policy runs true to form, the small handful of set-builders will then be required to destroy their work, rather than put it into store - so next Christmas they will have to start again from scratch. Last year, a big set was required for A Murder is Announced, and in 2005 there was at least a token bit of balm for the builders because Sleuth and Blithe Spirit shared the same opulent backdrop.
The irony of this build-it-big-and-knock-it-down tradition is that there is never time for the small labour force to remove all traces before the Crescent gets into its equally traditional Christmas Wassail, which this year will have the first two of its four performances next Sunday and Monday, in the middle of A Murder is Announced. Understandably, they don't try.
As a result, Wassail audiences who turn up expecting no more than a good evening of songs, carols, readings, a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine tend to be mistakenly impressed into thinking that the on-stage opulence with which they are greeted has been specially created for them.
Dial M for Murder ends on Saturday week, with the Wassail moving in again on the following Tuesday and Wednesday.
Staying with the Crescent, there seems to be some concern about why the theatre is persisting with one-night hires that don't sell.
It is being suggested that it is simply due to lack of support from its membership. But on the other hand could it be down to insufficient publicity to market these events to the theatregoing public at large?
Either way, there must have been a collective Crescent 'ouch!' at having had to pay Gyles Brandreth's agent £1.500 for a show that didn't happen last month.
And on Sunday, Clive Francis's superb one-man, 80-minute account of A Christmas Carol went ahead with just over 20 people in the main auditorium. That was another great shame - not only for the actor but for those Crescent members who had loyally turned up to do a front-of-house stint.
Highbury Little Theatre chairman Steve Bowyer and Emmanuel Church choir conductor Richard Mason just happen to teach at Aldridge School - which is why the Sutton Coldfield theatre and the Wylde Green church have now a six-year tradition of a joint carol service.
Their latest seasonal venture comes at 7.30pm this Sunday (December 9), when the choir will sing appropriate hymns and Highbury Little Theatre members will give readings with a theatrical twist from literature. The church is in Green Lanes, Wylde Green. If you're late and lost, just listen for uplifting noises.
Class Act Drama, a Birmingham drama school based at the Custard Factory in Gibb Street, Digbeth, is involved in a professionally-directed production of When Santa Lost His Beard there - the story of how this stressful time of year had an unforeseen effect on the facial foliage of the man with the sack.
Its main theme, however, is the stress of parents who are pestered to buy toys.
The show, in the hands of the school's master junior and adult class, is a forerunner for a production in December next year, to be staged at a larger venue in Birmingham in aid of Save the Children.
Clare Smith says that the casting process is already beginning and she is looking for people who would like to be involved. She has more details on 0121 244 3214 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solihull Theatre Company wants to know whether anybody has seen a Pish Tush - or at least a potential Pish Tush.
The group has spent two weeks auditioning hopefuls for all the roles in its production of Hot Mikado in May - but there is just one singing Oriental gentleman who has remained elusive. Anyone prepared to be the final piece in the jigsaw, or otherwise interested in joining the chorus, should ring 07944 890792.
Hall Green Little Theatre reports a long-awaited milestone. On-line booking has arrived. To buy tickets for Cinderella, which opens tonight (December 5) and runs to the end of next week click here.
* WHAT'S ON
Deck the Halls, Oldbury Repertory Players, Barlow Theatre, Langley (to Saturday).
Camille, Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
Dig in for Murder, Swan Theatre Amateur Company, Swan Theatre, Worcester (to Saturday).
Absurd Person Singular, Dudley Little Theatre, Netherton Arts Centre (to Saturday).
Dial M for Murder, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Dec 15).
Cinderella, Hall Green Little Theatre (to Dec 15).
Hans, the Witch and the Gobbin, Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (Dec 6-15).
The Dancing Bear, Swan Theatre Amateur Company, Swan Theatre, Worcester (Saturday).
The Complete History of Britain - Almost, Worcester Operatic & Dramatic Society, St Mary's Hall, Northfield Street, Worcester (Dec 12-15).