A popular Chester theatre company is preparing for a busy few months in the run up to Christmas with two shows currently in rehearsals, a flying visit from an Australian theatre company and panto season to look foward to.
Tip Top Productions, based at the Forum Studio Theatre in Chester , will once again stage Chester’s traditional family pantomime which this year is Cinderella written by Peter Swingler OBE and starring The Voice finalist, North Wales based Joe Woolford who played the lead role in last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Tickets are already on sale for the pantomime which runs from Friday, December 8 to Friday, January 5.
Prior to Cinderella, Tip Top will stage two other in house productions as well as playing host to visiting companies including Nuworks Theatre Company from Australia.
Nuworks from Melbourne arrive in Chester on Thursday, October 5 as part of their whistle-stop European tour. The company will present two shows for the price of one, Snow White followed by Romeo and Juliet. The short, one-act shows will be performed back-to-back with tickets for all seats just £5.
A spokesman for Nuworks said: “We are delighted to be returning to the historic city of Chester with brand new musical adaptations of two classic tales. It’s not exactly a panto, it’s a little more sophisticated but both shows are faithful to the original in most respects:
“In Snow White there’s Snow White of course, the Wicked Queen, and the Huntsman. The seven dwarves have morphed into the Hip Hop Brothers and there’s a few extra characters but, you’ll find there’s still a poisoned apple, a prince, a true love’s kiss and a Happy Ever After!
“In Romeo and Juliet, whilst sticking faithfully to Shakespeare’s classic tale, we have produced a piece of theatre that will appeal to younger and older audiences. It is complemented with a number of contemporary songs from Pink. The largely up tempo songs are accompanied by choreography.”
Both shows are suitable for audiences above 10 years of age.
Following on from Nuworks, award winning folk duo Edgelarks (formerly Philip Henry and Hannah Martin) take to the stage on Friday, October 13, bringing with them their own inimitable eclectic style, from the traditional music of the British Isles to Indian classical slide guitar and the stomping roots party of beatbox harmonica.
Rehearsals are also under way for Tip Top’s own production of the classic 1960s dark comedy The Killing of Sister George directed by Mark Newman which runs at the theatre from Wednesday, October 25-Saturday, October 28.
The play, written by Frank Marcus in 1964 was later adapted into a successful film version staring British favourite, actress Beryl Reid and Susannah York. Seen as controversial when first produced in the 1960s, the play deals with the breakdown of the volatile relationship between actress June Buckridge (Sister George in the fictional BBC radio series Applehurst) and her lover Alice ‘Childie’ McNaught.
The play’s director Mark Newman said: “In the soap, June’s character is a much loved district nurse, doing good deeds and healing the sick of the village, in real life, June is a cigar chomping, gin guzzling bully!”
With her popularity ratings falling, June’s world crumbles around her as she faces the prospect of saying goodbye to the much loved radio character she has become famous for as a result of which, her relationship with Childie may never be the same again.
Rehearsals have also begun for the staging of a new British musical which parodies the likes of Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
The Great British Soap Opera runs at the theatre from November 8-11 and is directed for Tip Top by the creator of Chester’s very own Wizard School, Phil Cross.
The show follows the lives, loves, secrets and lies of the cast of fictional TV soap Victoria Square as they vie for fame and try to keep their darkest secrets firmly in the closet and out of the tabloids!
Full details of all upcoming shows and events at The Forum Studio Theatre can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk where tickets can also be booked online. Alternatively, contact the box office on 01233 341296.