The production of The Rivals, opening at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, on Friday next week, will be in the studio and in the round. What’s more, it’s also teaching members of the cast to mind their manners.

Director Ian Nicholson has his own way of getting them into character. He tells me: “I have asked them to use the correct form of address. This means that I’m referred to as Mr Nicholson in rehearsals, which I find very entertaining.

“I find it lends a formality. It seens peculiar to us but it would have been common to our characters, so I thought I’d ask them to try it.”

And if this is not different enough, performing in the round will also be a challenge for a costume drama because there will not be the luxury of scenery to create a sense of mood or place.

All this and Mrs Malaprop, too. It’s an unusual approach to Sheridan’s classic Restoration comedy. The Rivals will run to April 25.

* There are lots of brothers and sisters involved in Hall Green Little Theatre Youth Theatre’s production of The Fate of Jeremy Visick next week, with Aaron Bourke, aged 13, in the central role.

The cast includes James Kay (13) and brother Ben (17), Connie Jordan (seven) and sister Fay (eight), sisters Stefanie (eight) and Jennifer (17) Emery, and twins Natalie and Jessica Kane, who are ten.

Among the senior members of the group are cousins Josie Booth and Sarah Kelly, whose mothers are both active Hall Green members.

The play, about 19th century Cornish miners, was written by my former Post colleague, the late Judith Cook.

* Companies collecting awards for drama at the annual Weekend of the National Operatic & Dramatic Association’s West Midland region at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall included Sutton Arts Theatre (Private Lives), Walsall’s Grange Players (My Boy Jack), Enville Street Dramatic Society, Stourbridge (Blithe Spirit), Circle Players, Aldridge (We Love You, Arthur) and Chaddesley Amateur Theatrical Society (Caught in the Net).

Director John Cumberlidge put 22 willing participants through a gruelling workshop involving Another Opening, Another Show from Kiss Me, Kate.

* The Loft Theatre Company will be busy in Leamington from Tuesday next week with Women’s Writes – an anthology of monologues by, for and about women – directed by Tom O’Connor.


* Talking to Terrorists, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).

* Women’s Writes, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa (April 14-18).

* Something Old, Something New, The Arcadians, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (April 16-18).

* The Rivals, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (April 17-25).