Members of Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre have been finding out more than they ever suspected about each other – all because of Harvey, the invisible 6ft rabbit who gives his name to the production opening Saturday.

In the play, written by Mary Chase in 1944, Harvey is the friend of Elwood P Dowd, whose other friends don’t quite know what to make of him.

But it now turns out that imaginary friends are not at all uncommon. Crescent members have been confessing to becoming bosom chums with a horse called Majesty, a duck and another rabbit – named The Rabbit. There were also a lady called Mrs Morning, a headmaster called Mr Pumpernickel, a mop called Mopsy and a cowboy who didn’t have a name but who lived behind the chimney breast.

So Elwood, played by Robert Mrozek, is clearly in pretty good company as he prepares for his week in Brindleyplace.

n Sutton Arts Theatre is getting in early with its pantomime – it starts tomorrow – and the man in the middle is Richard Aucott. He wrote it, he’s directing it and he’s playing Semolina Puddings, the cook – all in the cause of Dick Whittington.

And this is not just any old cook. Semolina is involved in high kicks, a tango and a belly dance, as well as a brassy Bassey-like account of Hey, Big Spender – all achieved between 12 costume changes.

What’s more, Dick Whittington’s cat will conceal the delightful Liz Kane, ever memorable as the slinky, sexy, ghostly Elvira in the group’s Blithe Spirit of a few years back. Throw in a Fairy Bow Bells in Barbara Windsor mode and a King Rat reminiscent of Richard III, and it sounds as if SAT is on to a winner.

It is not such good news from Hall Green Little Theatre. Illness among the cast has forced it to postpone tonight’s opening night of Jack and the Beanstalk until Friday.

* THE Phoenix Players will hold auditions for their production of Gaslight on next Tuesday week at The Studio, at the back of the Tramway pub, in Shipston Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, at 7.30 pm. Eric Smith has details on 01789 551754 or at


’Allo, ’Allo, The Nonentities, Rose Theatre, Kidderminster (to Saturday).

Deck the Halls, Oldbury Repertory Players & Langley Band (to Saturday).

The Storm, Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).

Sleeping Beauty, Youth Onstage, Dovehouse Theatre, Solihull (to Saturday).

Dick Whittington, Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield (Dec 4-13).

Jack and the Beanstalk, Hall Green Little Theatre (Dec 5-13).

Harvey, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Dec 6-13).

Sweeney Todd, Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Dec 12-13).

A Christmas Wassail, Crescent Theatre Company, Highbury, Moseley (Dec 11 & 15); & Dec 21 & 22, Crescent Theatre.