I have never until now had the disconcerting sensation of being haunted by a play - but something seems to be ensuring that Private Lives is determined to dog me.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Worcester's Swan Theatre Amateur Company and the neighbouring Nonentities of Kidderminster had scheduled their productions to occupy adjoining places in the calendar - the Nonentities' having finished on January 26 and STAC's due to begin on Thursday next week, February 14.
Not, it occurs to me, that Valentine's Day seems quite appropriate for re-running all the unpleasant spats that take place in the Noel Coward classic - but, sorry, I am distracting myself from being haunted.
Having not seen the play for several years, and with two productions already in my diary, I discovered that a summer run is planned by Sutton Arts Theatre.
Then, oddest of all, I went to Hall Green Little Theatre's account of Philip King's See How They Run - another gem that I had not watched for a long time - and was reminded of Private Lives yet again, because the characters in the farce include an actor and an actress who have played Elyot and Amanda opposite each other in the past.
But, not content with simply referring to the situation, they actually re-enact the glorious scene where they roll about on the floor together, causing consternation in the next character to come on.
I used to have a private life of my own, but Private Lives is clearly intent on intruding at every opportunity.
Or perhaps it is just an all-round mischief-maker: STAC's Frank Welbourne was bemused to discover that Amateur Stage in its listings was ascribing to the group not only Private Lives, which will run to February 23, but Coward's Hay Fever, which it has not presented for years.
There are still almost seven weeks to go before Highbury Little Theatre launches its production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, the sad-funny play by Jim Cartwright that challenges its central player to give a passable imitation of various singing stars.
There are plenty of technical challenges to overcome as well - so it's good news to hear that the Sutton Coldfield venue will have a set that it regards as not only creative and unusual but one that will also work. The mastermind behind it is designer Phil Boddy.
And word has it that the group's Rob Phillips, generally regarded as what is technically termed these days as a shoo-in for the wackier roles, took only two rehearsals to identify several places for getting his trousers off. It may or may not be true that the joint directors intend to prevent it from happening.
All will be revealed - or not, of course - when Little Voice opens on March 25.
Meanwhile, Highbury last night launched the Raymond Hopkins comedy, Love Begins at Fifty, and near-neighbours Sutton Arts Theatre opens tomorrow with Ghost Writer, a David Tristram comedy that starts with a tragedy when an actress is found dead in bed.
These two near-neighbours consistently allow their shows to run alongside each other - in this case offering the patrons a choice of two from February 7 -16 and nothing for the rest of the month.
Staffordshire's Newcastle Players have advice for any theatre group collecting for charity at the end of a performance. Grab the cash in buckets.
They raised what they describe as a disappointing £225.80 for the North Staffs Kidney Patients' Association during their production of Billy Liar, and even after rounding this up to £300 it was still only half the amount they gathered last year for another charity during Blithe Spirit.
The Players report: "Audience figures were down, compared with Blithe Spirit but not by 50 per cent. Members involved in the collections believe that the type of collecting box provided was a significant factor.
"In previous years, the charities concerned have supplied collecting buckets, which accept coins more easily than the hand-held boxes - and high-visibility tabards which make the collectors more difficult to overlook."
Hall Green Little Theatre's production of A Comedy of Errors, planned to open on February 18, has been "unavoidably postponed" for seven days.
Midland Music Makers have not yet decided when auditions will take place for their production of Carmen at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, in November - but they would like to hear from anybody interested in taking part.
Those who respond will be kept informed of the dates, times and conditions of principals' auditions by email and be issued with the auditions pieces as soon as possible. Chorus members will be "assessed informally" during rehearsals, which will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays (principals) and Thursdays (full company) from the end of April.
Lorraine Payne has more information on 07971 673 060.
* WHAT'S ON
Moon Over Buffalo, Grange Players, Grange Playhouse, Walsall (to Saturday).
Blue Remembered Hills, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday). The Misshapen, the Moonstruck and the Damned & In the Cellar, New Mercury Theatre, Lamp Tavern, 157 Barford Street, Birmingham (to Saturday). Aladdin, Vesey Players, Bishop Vesey Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield (to Saturday).
Frozen, Oldbury Repertory Players, Barlow Theatre, Langley (to Saturday).
Love Begins at 50, Highbury Little Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (to Feb 16).
Ghost Writer, Sutton Arts Theatre (to Feb 16).
Handsworth Gang Show, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Feb 11-16). Groping for Words, Nonentities, Rose Theatre, Kidderminster (Feb 11-16).
Private Lives, Swan Theatre Amateur Company, Swan Theatre, Worcester (Feb 14-23).