Birmingham Fest 2017 Full Line Up & Brochure

 

The programme of events for Birmingham Fest 2017 has been finalised!

 

 You can see the full list here.

 

You can download the brochure here:

Birmingham Fest 2017 brochure

This can also be downloaded from our main website page.

 

This year is our 5th which is very exciting.

We have a great, varied selection of shows so please have a look through. We’re sure you will find something you like the look of – hopefully a few things!

And don’t forget to share!

Birmingham Fest Dance-Off Coming Soon!

bham-fest-16-page-19

 

Brand new for 2017, Birmingham Fest presents its first ever Dance-Off!

Dancers are invited to bring their “A” game in a competition to crown the very best.

Anyone from solo artists to companies of up to twelve can enter in any style of dance:

Jazz, tap, contemporary, ballroom, street, ballet – or even a fusion. Anything!

To make things even more exciting, the winner’s prize is a whopping £500!

So join us for the very first year…

IT’S TIME TO STEP-UP!

 

More details to follow…

To register your interest please e-mail NOW! info@birminghamfest.co.uk

 

“GREASE” review

Grease

 

GREASE

Stage Experience. New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.

 

There can’t be many people that haven’t seen or heard of “Grease”. As well as the classic movie there’s been numerous stage productions, reality TV shows and most recently a live TV version. So the danger with a new production is always to bring something new or not to disappoint. Well fear not – both are most definitely covered here.

 

Stage Experience never disappoints. It’s always a joy to watch this young cast present their summer musical and for their 13th they bring us Grease and it most certainly wasn’t an unlucky number. From the moment it started with a beautiful “Sandy/”Danny” duet to the moment it ended with a crowd-pleasing mega-mix it never missed a mark. With a huge cast of 120 it felt like there was an entire high school on stage! It was also a novelty to see the characters actually played by teenagers. In the film the average cast age was 30 with Stockard Channing (Rizzo) clocking in at 34!

 

It feels unfair to single out any of the cast as they’re all wonderful and really throw themselves into their roles. There are some stand-out moments however. The electric opening of title number “Grease” was goose bump inducing. There was some fantastic dancing from the T-Birds in “Greased Lightning” (especially from one flic-flacking little boy). Georgia Anderson as Sandy delivered a gorgeous version of “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. Miss Anderson is definitely one to watch in the future. Sofi Robinson as Rizzo delivered a performance that belied her 17 years. She was wonderful in the role and her rendition of the excellent “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was stunning.

 

“Beauty School Dropout” was show-stopping. The already camp number literally out-camped itself! Frenchy inexplicably doesn’t have her own number so it was great that she had a chance to shine here. Georgina Steggles was brilliant as the ditsy blonde (then pink) and was so fun to watch. Her commentary throughout the number was hilarious. Teen Angel Mark Shaun Walsh held his own however – even when he was again almost upstaged by two topless boys!

 

Director and choreographer Pollyann Tanner once again delivers the almost impossible by staging a full musical in two weeks, especially at this standard. The choreography especially was fantastic.

 

A special mention must go to the lighting. Colin Wood has designed a visual spectacle here. It was like the stage was a beautiful 50’s jukebox which was literally a feast for the eyes (even though we were almost blinded on the opening chord of “Grease”!).

 

All in all, a perfect “Summer Night”.

 

GREASE IS STILL THE WORD!

4 stars.

 

(Darren Haywood)

2016 AWARD WINNERS

It’s been another year with an eclectic mix of wonderful shows and some fantastic performances.

So it’s been difficult to pick out some award winners but we’ve done it and here goes!

 

2016 FESTIVAL WINNERS:

*BEST SHOW – “FANNY: A NEW MUSICHALL” (ROBERTS & JOHN PRODUCTIONS).

*BEST PERFORMANCE – LIZZIE WOFFORD (“FANNY: A NEW MUSICHALL”).

*BEST ORIGINAL PIECE – “LEARNED FRIENDS” (GINNY DAVIS PRODUCTIONS).

*BEST ADAPTATION – “SHAKESPEARE’S AVENGERS ASSEMBLETH: THE AGE OF OBERON” (DRAKE’S DRUMMERS).

*BEST NEWCOMER – LUKE JURGEN GRANT (“AWAY FROM HOME” – GRITTY THEATRE).

 

Huge congratulations to them and everyone else that took part and made Birmingham Fest 2016 so great.

Birmingham Fest 2016 Full Line-Up & Brochure

FreeImageWorks.com

 

The programme of events for Birmingham Fest 2016 has been finalised!

You can see the full list here.

 

You can download the brochure here:

Birmingham Fest 2016 brochure

This can also be downloaded from our main website page.

 

We have a great, varied selection of shows again so please have a look through. We’re sure you will find something you like the look of – hopefully a few things!

And don’t forget to share!

2015 AWARD WINNERS!

It’s been a really great year with a really eclectic mix of shows and some fantastic performances.

Therefore it’s been difficult to pick out some award winners but we’ve done it and here goes!

 

2015 FESTIVAL WINNERS:

*BEST SHOW – “A POSITIVE LIFE” (AUTIN DANCE THEATRE).

*BEST PERFORMANCE – TONY CARPENTER & PHILIP HUTCHINSON (LAUREL & HARDY).

*BEST ORIGINAL PIECE – “THE COUNTRY DOCTOR” (NOCTIUM THEATRE).

*BEST ADAPTATION – “THE HIDEOUT” (HASTE THEATRE).

*BEST NEWCOMER – GABRIELLE KILLICK (“THE MORNING AFTER”).

 

Huge congratulations to them and everyone else that took part and made this year’s festival so great.

 

Birmingham Fest 2015 full line-up & brochure!

Bham Fest 15 brochure

 

The programme of events for Birmingham Fest 2015 has been finalised!

You can see the full list here.

 

You can download the brochure here:

Birmingham Fest 2015 brochure

This can also be downloaded from our main website page.

 

We have a great, varied selection of shows again so please have a look through. We’re sure you will find something you like the look of – hopefully a few things!

And don’t forget to share!

“Beautiful Thing” review

Beautiful Thing

 

Beautiful Thing

The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome

Nottingham Playhouse, Curve Theatre & Tom O’Connell for QNQ

31st March 2015 (until 11th April plus further tour dates)

 

Jonathan Harvey’s urban love story first premiered in 1993. It was an instant hit. As was peppermint foot lotion at the Body Shop I shouldn’t wonder! Harvey of course went on to television success with “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, “Beautiful People” and “Coronation Street”. As a writer he certainly knows how to tap into his audience’s funny bones, but also emotions. This piece provides both.

The story takes place on a run-down estate in Thamesmead, Bermondsey during a hot summer, and follows Jamie – a fifteen year old boy who lives with his mother as he struggles with school, home and, more importantly, his coming of age. After its initial stage success, “Beautiful Thing” was made into a film in 1996 which Harvey adapted himself. Interestingly, two of its stars are now firm favourites in “EastEnders” – Linda Henry (Shirley) and Temeka Empson (Kim).

For this production we are presented with two “EastEnders” alumni. Charlie Brooks (Janine Butcher) plays Sandra, a blousy, council estate single mother to Jamie. She’s full of swag and bite, but underneath has a heart of gold. Ms Brooks looks a little young to be playing this character but fully throws herself into it. After the darkness of Janine she is a revelation as a brilliant comedy actress and also capable of heartfelt emotion (which I think we knew already).

The other east-ender is Thomas Law – who played Peter Beale before he reappeared last year with a completely different head! He plays Ste – a school friend of Jamie’s – who also happens to live next door. He’s also having his own problems – mainly his alcoholic and abusive father.  One night, after a particularly hefty beating, Sandra gives him refuge at hers where he has to “top and tail” with Jamie. And there begins the foundations of our love story.

The heart of this play is two teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality. Yes it was written over twenty years ago (we have a few early 90’s references: Richard & Judy, Grange Hill, etc) but I’d say the piece is as current now. I can’t imagine much has changed for teens today in the same position.

A big part of this production and film was the soundtrack which is the wonderfully uplifting songs of Mama Cass (The Mamas & The Papas). Thankfully they are still here. As soon as it opens with “It’s Getting Better” it sets the scene perfectly. The neighbour on the other side of Sandra is Leah (played brilliantly by a funny and feisty Vanessa Babirye) who is another of Jamie’s school friends and who has a more than mild obsession with Mama Cass – providing lots of comedy!

Sam Jackson (“Skins”) plays Jamie and is utterly believable in the role – tugging on your heart strings all the way. The revelation scene between him and Brooks is both electric and extremely moving.

Gerard McCarthy (“Hollyoaks”) completes the cast as Sandra’s stoner boyfriend. Without spoilers I did feel a bit sorry for his character at the end.

This is a wonderful play, excellently performed, and got a much deserved standing ovation tonight.

Oh and watch out for the “magical bed” which almost got its own round of applause!

 

4 stars. It’s a beautiful thing.

Darren Haywood

2015 Festival Dates Announced!

We’re pleased to be able to announce the dates for Birmingham Fest 2015.

They are 17th July-2nd August (inclusive) just before Edinburgh Fringe.

Applications will open in January .

Finalised 2014 line-up & brochure!

Birmingham Fest 2014

 

The programme of events for Birmingham Fest 2014 has been finalised!

You can see the full list here

Alternatively you can download the brochure here:

Birmingham Fest 2014 brochure

This can also be downloaded from our main website page.

 

We have a great (and bigger), varied selection of shows so please have a look through. We’re sure you will find something you like the look of – hopefully a few things!

And don’t forget to share!