Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published May 18th 2015
From Sweeney Todd To Hairspray In Run Up To Christmas
Theatres across Birmingham are bristling with action, romance and adventure in the run up to Christmas.
Big show, big laughs in Hairspray
Whether it's opera, ballet, musicals or drama, there is something that all theatre-lovers will fancy.
Weekend Notes has a round-up on the top 10 theatre in and around Birmingham from September to December 2015.
1. The Shawshank Redemption - New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
September 28 - October 3
The moving, intense prison story of The Shawshank Redemption makes it to the stage in Birmingham.
The Shawshank Redemption is a story about hope against all odds.
This Bill Kenwright production is based on the hugely popular film starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. It follows the story of Andy Dufresne after he is sent to the notorious Shawshank prison with a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover, despite protesting his innocence.
Despite enduring sadistic prison life, Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, which helps him overcome injustice and bullying and design a plan that could help him escape.
2. Swan Lake - Birmingham Hippodrome September 28 - October 6
Birmingham Royal Ballet opens its new season with ballet's greatest love story. The classic tragic-romance of Swan Lake is brought to life in this lavish production that is as atmospheric as it is unforgettable.
The classical beauty of ballet Swan Lake will be at Birmingham Hippodrome
This is a romantic fable of ill-fated passion accompanied by Tchaikovsky's dreamy score and featuring sublime choreography.
It tells the tale of a grieving prince who witnesses the transformation of a swan into a beautiful princess on a moonlit lake. This woman has been cursed by an evil spell to spend her days in the form of a bird, but can she be saved by the power of love?
Annie is making quite the comeback and in the wake of the Hollywood movie, a new tour is also heading across the UK with songs including A Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don't Need Anything But You and Tomorrow.
Craig Revel Horwood is the big name attraction in the show and gives the audience the chance to boo him in real life away from his tough judge role on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing talent show.
5. Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
October 20 - 24
Drag queens, a story of friendship and the brightest and most glittery set you are every likely to see - that sums up the larger than life musical of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Bright, colourful scenes in Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Based on the successful movie of the same name, this is a heart-warming, uplifting adventure about three drag queen friends who hop aboard a battered old bus called Priscilla.
They stumble into various escapades to a soundtrack of dance hits including It's Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Finally, Boogie Wonderland, Go West, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I Love The Nightlife.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert has a cavalcade of wonderful costumes
This gay-friendly comedy musical has the feel-good factor and is sure to get you on your feet.
7. Sweeney Todd - Birmingham Hippodrome
November 19 - 21
The Welsh National Opera has made Birmingham its second home with three regular visits a year. This time, the company is performing its version of killer musical Sweeney Todd as part of its Autumn Season.
Welsh National Opera performs Sweeney Todd at Birmingham Hippodrome
This is a brand new production as part of a series of operas on the theme of Music and Madness. (Other shows in the season include new productions of Bellini's I Puritani and Handel's Orlando).
The man behind the priginal musical is Stephen Sondheim, whose other big success Into The Woods has been released at the cinemas recently. The Welsh National Opera is taking Sondheim's gruesome, murderous tale of the demon barber of Fleet Street and recreating it in the late 1970s/early 1980s instead of Victorian Britain.
But be warned, you may never want to eat a pie again.
Fun for all the family, the production will take the audience on a journey into Narnia with memorable characters like the wicked White Witch, heroic Aslan the lion and lovable Mr Tumnus. It is bound to put a spell on you.
9. Scottish Dance Theatre presents YAMA - DanceXchange - Patrick Centre Studio Theatre in Birmingham Hippodrome
November 26 - 27 - both shows at 8pm
Damien Jalet's critically acclaimed YAMA returns as a brand new full length work featuring a set designed by renowned visual artist Jim Hodges.
The critically acclaimed dance piece YAMA comes to Birmingham's DanceXchange.
YAMA, created with the dancers of Scottish Dance Theatre, explores the mythology associated with mountains inspired by the pagan and animist rituals practised among the mountains of Tohoku, Japan.
This is the latest work by impressive choreographer Jalet, who has been responsible for some of the most revered productions of the past 10 years including the Laurence Olivier award-winning Babel and a radical re-staging of Bolero with Marina Abramovic at the Paris Opera.
YAMA is an unmissable show for fans of modern dance.
Set in 1960s Baltimore, the audience is introduced to lovable Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart.
Tracy wants to dance her way onto national TV but attracting local attention, she ends up using her new-found fame to fight for equality.
With romance, lively music and songs and colourful characters, Hairspray has become one of the most popular musicals on the theatre circuit.
This production features a host of tv stars including Tony Maudsley from Benidorm as Edna Turnblad, former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan as Wilbur, Loose Women and ex-Brookside star Claire Sweeney as Velma Von Tussle and X Factor's Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle.