Mellows Youth – Bugsy Malone Review

Bugsy Malone, the Mellow Dramatics, Brewhouse arts centre, Burton.

This is a show starring the younger members of the Mellow Dramatics who rise to the challenge of converting a much-loved musical film into a stage show.
It has to be said they have achieved the transformation remarkably well.
For those of you who are not familiar with the film – oh, shame on you – it tells the story of rival gangsters Fat Sam and Dandy Dan and the characters who cross their paths or are members of their respective entourages. Think Damon Runyon with added ‘splurge guns’.
Speakeasy owner Fat Sam is worried that his rival Dandy Dan will try to take control of the speakeasy. Blousey Brown arrives to audition but Sam is busy to see her and she meets Bugsy. Dandy Dan’s men raid the speakeasy and then make more attacks on Fat Sam’s businesses ending up with all his rackets.
Fat Sam hires Bugsy Malone to take him to a meeting with Dan that turns out to be a trap but Bugsy saves Fat Sam
Bugsy and Blousey get back together with Bugsy promising to take her to Hollywood.
Furthermore, Bugsy has one final job to do for Fat Sam before he can fulfill his promise to Blousey.
The musical numbers involving the company at Fat Sam’s speakeasy are very well-choreographed and the tap dancing is great.
The standout songs from the film are performed well with the young principals really going to town and making the numbers their own.
Comedic moments abound as the love story between Bugsy (Owen Wardle) and Blousey (Hannah Smith) unfolds against the backdrop of gang warfare between Fat Sam (Dan Robb) and Dandy Dan (Calum Launchbury).
The gang members are just the right side of stupid without going over the top, as are the investigating police officers.
One of the highlights of the show for me was Joe Beckwith as Fizzy and his performance of Tomorrow, filled with longing and a yearning dance sequence.
Ben Martin as Cagey Joe (So You Wanna Be a Boxer?) was another moment to savour as was Olivia Matlock’s rendition of My Name is Tallulah.
Bugsy Malone is an excellent evening’s entertainment with some great performances from the young cast who take on the challenge of an iconic film and make it their own.
Bugsy Malone, presented by the Mellow Dramatics is on at the Brewhouse arts centre, in Union Street every evening until Saturday, January 16th. The matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday has already sold out.

For ticket availabilty contact the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.

picture courtesy of Phillip Ingham Photography

Bill Pritchard.

Mellows Youth – Bugsy Malone

Mellow Dramatics Youth is bringing the classic kid’s musical Bugsy Malone to the Brewhouse stage.

The show opens on Tuesday, January 12th and runs until Saturday, 16th January.

Curtain up will be at 7.30pm every night and there will be a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.


Tickets are available from the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.

Lunchtime Recital at St Modwen`s

Former ‘Staffordshire Young Singer of the Year’ and BADAC bursary recipient, Edward Robinson together with fellow Royal Northern College of Music student, Hayley Parkes, present a lunchtime recital of classical works for baritone voice and piano at St. Modwen’s Church, Burton upon Trent.

Programme to include works by Mozart, Handel, Schubert, Wagner and more.

Monday 21st December at 13:30

St. Modwen’s The Market Place – Burton DE14 1HA

Tickets – £5

Reserve tickets at or available on the door.

About the musicians…

Hayley and Edward are both in their third year of study at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music. Between the duo, they boast a range of experience, having performed in many of the UK’s finest music venues including: The Bridgewater Hall, The Sage, Gateshead, Symphony Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and at the Royal Festival Hall.

As a competition participant, Hayley was chosen as one of five of the top young pianists in the country to compete in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Category Final. She has also won first prize at the Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition and twice winner of the EPTA UK piano competition. She is also the recipient of various awards including The Vernon Farley Piano Prize, The Peter Donohoe Prize and has also gained praise for her skills as an accompanist by winning both The Marjorie Pennington Prize for Accompaniment and the The James Oncken Song Prize for Accompanist.

In 2013, Edward was awarded Staffordshire Young Singer of the Year and was subsequently invited to perform as guest soloist at Birmingham Symphony Hall under Nigel Taylor. At the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, he also received a nomination for ‘Best Male Character Actor’ for his portrayal of Grosvenor in Patience. He sang in a staged performance of Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel with the RNCM Chamber Orchestra, July 2015 and in December, Edward will be joining Edward Gardner and the Bergen Philharmonic as they perform Schoenburg’s Gurrelieder in the Grieghallen, Norway, as the final event of their 250th anniversary celebrations.

Both Hayley and Edward are delighted to be performing at St. Modwen’s Church, Burton upon Trent, and plan to create a programme of music enjoyable and accessible to all.

Thanks to Ed Robinson for the info.

Brewhouse- Gift Exhibition and Season Launch

Hi, we hope you can make it along to Gift…!

Gift Exhibition and Season Launch for Spring this Thursday, 26th November, 6 – 9 pm

With live music from Annabelle Bartram

FREE Glass of Mulled wine and Mince Pie between 6 and 7pm

If you can’t make the event our Christmas Exhibition ‘Gift’ continues in the gallery from Thursday 26th 2015 to Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Showcasing a selection of handmade affordable gifts encouraging you to shop local and buy handmade this Christmas!

The exhibition also features our colourful festive decorations created with a number of local schools and in our workshops; from bauble lanterns created with John of Rolleston Primary School, Eton Park Junior School and William Shrewsbury Primary School to our raggy Christmas tree and decorations made with Christ Church Primary School, to our snow scene made with pre schoolers at our Make it Monday sessions.

We hope to see you there!

Thanks to Anna Roebuck for the info.

UCS – Singing at the Races

About 20 members of Uttoxeter Choral Society assembled at the Racetrack on Sunday 22nd November. It was family day and the place was crowded. There were two sets of “reindeer” and a Christmas Market. Many children were encouraged to put money in the UCS tubs.

We sang at the entrance, outside by the racetrack, in both bars, in the restaurant, beside the fish & chip shop and at the exit – so 3 indoor and 4 outdoor venues. When the races took place we retired to a box provided by the racetrack to warm up and refresh our voices.

On Friday 27th Nov we will be singing outside the Uttoxeter Town Hall for the Victorian Evening.

(The photo is from last time we were there)



Thanks to Mary Pollard for the info.

CTC – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee- Review

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Cabaret Theatre Company, The Brewhouse.
Once again the Cabaret Theatre Company has come up with a cracking show for their Burton audience.
Spelling Bee, as I will henceforth refer to it rather than typing in the full title, is a little gem that for me ranks alongside last year’s offering Dear Edwina.
Musically it’s a very difficult sing but Sally Everson’s talented team not only perform with aplomb but also manage to bring out all the subtle and not so subtle nuances of the lyrics.
Directed by Daniel David Webber, who also appears on stage as Douglas Panch, the cast move the Tony award-winning show along at a good pace and the show is full of great comedy which is kept up to date with references to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
It is incredibly demanding on the cast and they deserved to have a much larger audience for the matinee performance. Whilst I applaud Cabaret Theatre Company for their choice of shows over the past two years sadly they seem to be paying the price for bringing new and interesting work to the Brewhouse at a cost to the company in terms of audience numbers.
That said, they are returning to a tried and trusted favourite next year with Little Shop of Horrors.
For those who don’t know the Spelling Bee show it concerns one of the most American of activities – a spelling bee – in which children compete against each other to spell words in a knockout format until there is a winner.
Spelling Bee deals with the pressure that comes from parents, peers and their own insecurities about life as they try to spell words that range in difficulty from ewe to crepuscule. They are allowed to ask certain questions about the words they have to spell which in turn leads to many of the laughs.
The cast manage to make the singing and dancing, choreography courtesy of producer Sally Everson, look both slick and easy and the acting is faultless.
I was thoroughly entranced by Spelling Bee and thought it was very much an inventive and entertaining piece of theatre that deserved a much wider audience.
I have always enjoyed the work that Sally has produced at the Brewhouse over the years and I feel with the Cabaret Theatre Company she has got a very talented team of actors that can showcase the more difficult pieces. Well done to all concerned.

Bill Pritchard.

UCS – Messiah – Review

Review of Uttoxeter Choral Society concert at Denstone College on Saturday 14th November. The proceedings began with a minute’s silence for the victim’s of the Paris shootings.


The Chapel of St Chad at Denstone College resounded with the voices of Uttoxeter Choral Society on Saturday 14th November as they performed Handel’s Messiah. Mark Leigh Cunningham (tenor) introduced the quote from Isaiah (“Comfort ye”) with resounding clarity and enjoyment. The choir were displayed at the back of the chapel so that everyone could be heard as they sang that “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”. This arrangement had Hanna-Lisa Kirchin (mezzo) sing “who may abide the day of his coming” when she showed the lovely range of her voice with clarity throughout. Andrea Ryder’s (soprano) breath control for the long phrases was superb. The Choir showed that “his burthen is light “ with their soft singing in contrast to their bitterness in “He trusted in God”.

The atmospheric singing of(bass) Terence Ayebare in “Behold, I tell you a mystery”, the sweetness of tone and the wonder of the words prepared us for a rousing “the trumpet shall sound” when the reverberations from the building added to our pleasure.

It was a memorable evening. The soloists were excellent, the conductor Mitch Holland encouraged the choir and controlled the speed of every item. If you missed it, then you should come to the next concert at St Mary’s parish church, Uttoxeter 23rd April when the choir will sing Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Cherubini’s Requiem in C minor accompanied by a mixed ensemble.

Mary Pollard.

Cabaret Theatre Company

Following on from the success of Dear Edwina, Cabaret Theatre Company’s 2014 show the group are returning to the Brewhouse Arts Centre with one of the quirkiest shows around – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

This Tony Award winning musical features a catchy score by William Finn and a sweet, yet funny book by Rachel Sheinkin.

The show follows the journey of some of the most intelligent, if eccentric, young spellers Putnam has even seen. With some wonderful musical numbers each speller reveals their hopes and struggles as they make their way through the competition.

The 2005 production on Broadway, directed by James Lapine and produced by David Stone, James L Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theater, was a box office success that earned good reviews and was nominated for six Tony Awards – winning two, including Best Book.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee causes audiences to fall in love, both with the show itself and its young spellers.

Sally Everson, the principal of the Cabaret Theatre Company, and the show’s producer, says: “Not many people have even heard of this show, but it’s a wonderful musical and it’s been great fun to work on.

“We have a very talented young cast and I hope audiences will come along and discover for themselves how good it is!”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is on at Burton’s Brewhouse Arts Centre on Saturday, November 21, with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets, costing £10 for adults and £5 for children are available from the Brewhouse bo offtce on 01283 508100.

LTC Flint Street Nativity – Review

The Flint Street Nativity, The Little Theatre Company, Brewhouse arts centre, Union Street, Burton

Are you in the Christmas mood yet?

Can you remember the last nativity play your child was involved in?

Were there tantrums? Bitchiness? Mishaps and falling out?

Relive it all now – without your children being involved – as the Little Theatre Company brings The Flint Street Nativity to Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre.

Once again LTC takes a work by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls) and brings it to life on the Burton stage. Set in a fictitious school on the Welsh-Cheshire border – which gives plenty of scope for Scouse accents of which Sarah Spencer’s as Gabriel is a belter, as is her death stare at Katie Haywood, cast as Mary, as she tries to not only wrest the lead role in the nativity from her but also to substitute her ‘Baby Jesus’ for the one the teacher has decided on.

There are so many great lines in this show that even if you haven’t had to undergo being the parent of a shepherd – or possibly playing one of the sheep yourself you will identify with.

A strong cast in which Karen Hailstone elicits sympathy as Wise Frankincense and Heather Gallagher and Vanessa Birch convincingly show how they have to ‘toe the line’ to Gabriel’s vision of how the performance should play out.

Leon Ratcliffe and Rob Tunley ably show how our parents imbue us with their own lifestyle choices and personalities and Pete Banton is both threatening and moving as he takes on the role of the innkeeper. Lending considerable comedy and gravitas in their roles are Carol Brown as a shepherd and Mike Mear as an ass. Mark Pearson as the Star of Bethlehem, whose uncle works for NASA and knows that stars don’t have five big sharp points manages to convey the weakness of a person who is right but has someone bigger than him daring him to prove it.

They are ably backed by the others in MIss Horrocks’ class: Vicky Fryer, Jane German, Jackie Pearson, Bethan Waite, Dawn White, Jodie Whitehead, Emily Haywood and Abi Tunley and everybody’s favourite music teacher Tim Robinson.

I have to say that for me the sound balance spoilt the performance for when the leading protagonists were trying to make a point in song, by singing different lyrics against the rest of the cast the levels were such that neither was clear to the audience and I really found it difficult to separate the lyrics.

The Flint Street Nativity is on at the Brewhouse arts centre until Saturday night at 7.30pm each evening with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Bill Pritchard.