The indomitable backroom team at Highbury Little Theatre was beavering away behind the curtain on Wednesday morning last week - out of sight and presumably unfazed by the one-off production going on in front of it for the benefit of about 50 senior citizens who had turned up to watch.
With The Rise and Fall of Little Voice becoming more and more imminent - it opened last night - there was set-painting to be done and, indeed, set construction. The painting went on behind the curtain and the building works somewhere out of earshot.
Well done! It's called professionalism. What was happening in front of the curtain, meanwhile, was Driven to Distraction, the 45-minute playlet that a small group of members of the Sutton Coldfield venue, backed by Age Concern and West Midlands Police, have been taking to local day centres and sheltered accommodation to warn of the dangers of distraction burglary.
After five performances "on the road", it arrived home for the first time with an amusing entertainment, purporting to be a television game show, complete with ebullient presenter and willowy assistant, that rammed home the important message about not being kept talking at your front door by a stranger whose accomplice is nipping in at the back.
The game show's big prize was to be able to sleep soundly in your bed - and the big surprise was the would-be burglar who arrived at the door and announced with panache that he couldn't remember his line. It was that sort of morning - happy, spirited, unpredictable.
It was an excellent example of the way in which amateur theatre can play an unexpectedly special part in the community - and it came with a surprise bonus in the form of £1,250 for the Highbury development fund, the result of funding attracted by its main sponsors.
Moreover, there were Highbury first-timers in the audience who declared their intention of returning to the theatre for future productions. Doing a bit of good clearly has its own rewards.
* I was vastly impressed, and to be found laughing like the proverbial drain, when my path crossed with that of Up 'n' Running Theatre Company. The venue was the Mac in Cannon Hill Park, where the group had nipped in before the planned renovations and refurbishment started.
This was my first sight of Up 'n' Running, although it is a Birmingham group that has been about for 10 years. Somehow, I had never encountered it, and indeed never heard of it until a few months back - but our decade of delay turned out to have heralded my introduction to a remarkable company.
The show was John Dighton's The Happiest Days of Your Life and the production was a gem. Dare I say it was worth its wait in gold?
In the intimate, sharp-raked surroundings of Mac's tiny studio theatre, a company without a weak link played the possibilities for all they were worth. I loved it. I'm still trying to work out why I've been deprived of such delights for all these years, but I hope to find out more about the group and report back.
* The national tour of The Producers, that wonderfully comic stage version of that wonderfully comic film, is now finished and there's a chance to buy its costumes. Academy Costumes Ltd has the entire collection, both from the London and the touring productions. There's everything from 1960s day dresses and heels to ballgowns, and from top hats and tails to the ear-clutching cloche.
Jessica Curtis has more details at Academy Costumes Ltd, 50 Rushworth Street, London SE1 0RB (telephone, 020 7620 0771.
You can view the costumes in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhhaH-9zBOk4.
* There was a touch of the unusual at Hall Green Little Theatre this week, in that Roy Palmer's excellent production of Kiss of Death ended on Monday - the day that most shows start.
As with so many things, there was a good explanation.
Julia Roden, for the group, explained: "Some time ago, one or two members requested that we should not perform publicly on Good Friday and we acceded to their wishes. But this year it was impossible to structure the dates other than round Easter weekend, so we substituted Monday for Friday."
And that was what gave Julia a nasty moment or two: she forgot, and thought they had got the printing wrong.
* WHAT'S ON
Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
The Homecoming, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
HMS Pinafore, Stratford-on Avon Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Stratford Civic Hall (Mar 27-29).
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Highbury Little Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (to April 5).
My Fair Lady, Peterbrook Players, Solihull Library Theatre (April 1-5).
The Boy Friend, Stratford-on-Avon Amateur Operatic Society, Stratford Civic Hall (April 2-5).
The Herbal Bed, Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (April 3-12).
Passionate Woman, Fellowship Players, Grange Theatre, Walsall (April 3-12).
Top Girls, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (April 5-19).