I am convinced that amateur theatre grows braver, year on year.
If you missed last week's version of The Full Monty at Birmingham's very talented Crescent Theatre, you missed a treat.
The reputation of the show ensured that the auditorium was far more populated than is the custom at the Crescent nowadays, and the nature of the audience caused it to resound with shrieks, shrill laughs and woo-woo-woos! from among the scores of young women who had turned up intent on matching the exposure of the cast with their own low-slung décolletage and were not about to do it quietly.
So a great night was being had by all - and the rapturous acclaim that the six Monty men received at the end was well deserved, for their acting and their singing as well as for their dramatic dénouement.
But it was the moment that immediately preceded the curtain-call that particularly intrigued me. It was the moment when the togetherness that had undoubtedly bonded the troupe as their rehearsals culminated remorselessly in the public flash of altogetherness that has brought the show its reputation.
And I do mean flash.
The lights did not go down quite quickly enough. They shunned the indecent haste that normally precludes indecent exposure. I have not heard that anybody has been arrested, and I don't know whether the minuscule time-lapse that gave the girls a thrill the night I was there was a miracle of purposeful timing or an indication that somebody's faltering finger did not hit the button quite quickly enough.
Not having seen any of the other performances, I am in no position to say - but the quality of the rest of Jo Thackwray's production leaves me in little doubt that what happened was what was meant to happen.
Hats off to the gentlemen whose security-guard uniforms were discarded and whose hats were - er, not on quite soon enough to beat the blackout.
* How do you get a goldfish to play dead?
It was a problem facing Highbury Little Theatre in Neil Weedon's studio production of The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice at the Sutton Coldfield venue last week. But the David Tristram comedy came to an end on Saturday, so the trade secret can be revealed without unnecessarily revealing either the plot or the magic it involved.
It required sleight of hand on the part of Sheila Knapman, playing Alice, as she flicked a fluffy dusting brush around the bowl containing Orca the goldfish (played by Eddie the Goldfish), and I was sitting within five feet of her and I didn't suspect a thing. She turned the bowl in a trice, so that the other side of its dividing partition - which nobody suspected was there - was facing the audience. And on the other side was an artistically-shaped carrot.
Clever stuff. But it meant I was really concerned in the latter stages of the show.
* Amateurs and professionals will unite next week to launch an open-air production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Commandery Gardens in Worcester.
The cast will include Philip Leach from Melting Pot, Jon T Scott and Oliver Goldfinch from the Swan Theatre Amateur Society, and Martin Bourne from Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society.
The Commandery featured in the Civil War, when it was the headquarters in 1651 of William, second Duke of Hamilton, the Royalist Commander-in-Chief.
This is the second season of Shakespeare at The Commandery and it will run from next Tuesday until June 21.
* A Walsall couple who have been very much at home at the Grange were presented with a digital camera at a party that heralded their departure to live in Cornwall.
Lynne Young has been with the Grange Players, both on stage and behind the scenes as director and choreographer, for 21 years, and husband Joe has led the set building team for the group's productions at the Grange Playhouse.
Lynne previously spent six years with Walsall's Fellowship Players, whose home is also the Grange, and about 20 years with Aldridge Musical Society, where she was a founder-member in 1967, plus spells with Walsall Operatic Society, Crossed Keys Operatic Society of Birmingham and Solihull's Peterbrook Players.
* Anyone fancying the chance to take part in a production of one of our funniest farces should turn up at Birmingham's Custard Factory at 8.30 pm next Wednesday.
Class Act Drama is looking for a cast for See How They Run, the Philip King rib-tickler involving among others a vicar and his wife, a bishop, and an escaped German prisoner-of-war - and apparently it does not matter how little experience the applicants may have, because they will be in the hands of professional directors.
The play will be performed in October at the Custard Factory in Gibb Street, Digbeth. More information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incidentally, it is also coming up at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, from June 25 to July 5 - with the opening night sold out before the brochure appeared. email@example.com
* WHAT'S ON
The Breath of Life, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
Red Hot and Cole, St Augustine's Musical Theatre Company, Solihull Library Theatre (to Saturday).
Oysters and Snails, Fellowship Players, Grange Playhouse, Walsall (June 5-14).
Buddy, Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company, Lichfield Garrick (June 10-14).
Journey's End, Wythall Theatre Company, Dovehouse Theatre, Solihull (June 11-14).