Category Archives: AMATEUR THEATRE

WHAT’S ON APRIL: Calamity Jane at the Town House

In the wild-west outpost of Deadwood City, 1876, we find the sharpshooting tomboy, Calamity Jane surrounded by cowboys, townsfolk, and the famous Wild Bill Hickok. After a mix-up in the talent pool at Deadwood’s saloon-theater, Calamity goes to Chicago to import to Deadwood the glamorous actress, Adelaide Adams, but returns by mistake with her maid, Katie Brown instead.

Back in Deadwood, Katie’s inability to perform is overcome as she wins the heart of the young Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin, and when Calamity sheds her tomboy persona at a ball at the local Fort and becomes a true woman, she realizes that she loves Wild Bill Hickok.

Available to book online or by calling The Town House Hamilton on 01698 452299.

Date: 28-29 Apr 2017

Time: 7:30pm, Saturday matinee 2:30pm

Cost: £10.00 / £9.00 conc / £7.50 group 10+

WHAT’S ON APRIL: Celebrate Good Times with Easter Egg at Motherwell Theatre

Musical theatre group Easter Egg, formed in 1947 as part of the Dalziel High School Former Pupils Association, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with their production Celebrate Good Times.

The show features a selection of music from a variety of well know artists including One Direction, Queen, Adele and Michael Jackson as well as songs from well know musicals such as Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables. As always there will be a stunning set, fabulous costumes as well as a few laughs and a guest spot by pupils from Dalziel High School in Motherwell. The show is guaranteed, as always, to be a great night out for all the family.

Tickets for the production are now on sale. Book online at or call the box office on 01698 322867.

The show runs from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 April in Motherwell Theatre at 7.30pm

Tuesday – £12/Concession £10/Children (U16) £6
Wednesday – Saturday – £14/Concession £12/Children (U16) £7
Concession – full time student or over 65

WHAT’S ON MAY: Runway Theatre Present Priscilla in its 50th Anniversary Season

Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship, and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favourites, this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!


At Eastwood Park Theatre from 9 -13 May 2017


Prices £14 – £18 (details below)

Runway theatre Priscilla eastwood park


NEWS: New choir looking for members

Enjoy singing musical theatre? Want to develop your vocal technique but can’t find the time to commit to a production? Then new choral ensemble Acquire wants you.

Acquire are hosting a free taster session where you can learn more about the company, meet the musical team and get a taste for how a rehearsal will run. This relaxed session will be shorter than the typical rehearsal, running from 8 pm until 10 pm in St. Andrew’s East Parish Church on Alexandra Parade.

This event is open to everyone and you will have the opportunity to sign up for an audition on the evening.

If you cannot make the information evening, don’t worry. You can still sign up for an audition on our website – Further information is available on the audition event page:

REVIEW: Me and My Girl – Motherwell Concert Hall

It is the girls who shine brightest in Hamilton Operatic and Dramatic Club’s latest production of the much-loved Me and My Girl at Motherwell Concert Hall this week.

The multiple Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Me and My Girl is the tale of humble Cockney costermonger Bill Snibson, his unexpected inheritance of the title of Earl of Hareford and the trials and tribulations he has to endure to keep the girl of his dreams by his side.

As the Duchess of Dene, Cathy Taylor and Marianne Millard, Lady Jaqueline are the stand-out talents of the night, the pair are fine actresses, with glorious voices and enviable stage presence, and the stage completely enlivens when they are there. The ensemble too are deserving of praise, and sound utterly gorgeous when singing as one. Less succesful is Gillian Black as Bill’s paramour Sally, whilst in possession of a beautiful singing voice her accent travels through virtually county and shire in England and at no point visits the borough of Lambeth. Accents seem to be an issue throughout, with one character beginning an act in RP English and ending it in Scots.

Quibbles aside, Hamilton ODC deliver high production values, with a rich-looking set and a fine chorus and orchestra under the baton of Mike Smith, and there are some professional quality performances throughout. An enjoyable evening of a little seen musical theatre classic.

REVIEW: Carrie – Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow

Louise Creechan Carrie Websters theatre Glasgow mad props

It takes a brave theatre company to tackle a show based on a 1974 Stephen King novel, notoriously dubbed the “most legendary flop musical ever produced”, well Glasgow-based Mad Props Theatre are just that, staging Michael Gore, Lawrence D Cohen and Dean Pitchford’s Carrie.

Debuting in 1988, (unbelievably) at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, it was met with decidedly mixed reviews, but that was nothing compared to its Broadway run, plagued with script and technical problems and the near-decapitation of musical theatre legend Barbara Cook, it closed after five performances, the most expensive theatre flop of its time. Thankfully, time has been kind, and after a successful 2015 revival at the Southwark Playhouse, Mad Props present the Scottish premiere.

Told in a series of flashbacks by her only ally Sue, Carrie is a telekinetic teen with an oppressive religious fanatic of a mother, humiliated by her classmates at prom, she wreaks her revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

The problems that have always existed with the production – weak script, forgettable music are still here, but thankfully judicial trimming, tight direction and some fine performances elevate this production above its source material.

Stand out among the talented cast is Katy Allan as Carrie’s controlling and abusive mother,  hers is a finely measured performance, that, despite the titters from some of the audience, treads the fine line between hysterical exaggeration and frightening believability. Louise Creechan’s acting skills are also worthy of note, she delivers the requisite intensity and naive vulnerability of the put-upon teen perfectly (as well as bearing a startling resemblance to movie Carrie, Sissy Spacek). There is also a brace of fine performances from the ensemble, the only gripe being a lack of dancing skills that rendered this very professional looking production a bit shambolic at times.

The small stage at Websters fits the production like a glove and the special effects are impressive from an amateur company.

Hugely entertaining and impressively delivered, mad props must go to Mad Props for continuing to deliver something different to musical theatre audiences in Glasgow – long may it continue.


REVIEW: Calamity Jane – Motherwell Theatre

The Deadwood stage has galloped into Motherwell courtesy of Our Lady’s Musical Society. Using the real-life adventures of Wild West frontierswoman Martha Jane Cannary as its inspiration, the musical of Calamity Jane is based on the much-loved 1953 Doris Day movie.

With a quite frankly preposterous plot, that at times is unfathomable: saloon owner Henry Miller is under the impression he’s hired famous actress Frances Fryer to perform, but when very male Francis arrives, Calamity rides out to bring backstage sweetheart Adelaide Adams to save the day (why it’s not the elusive Frances Fryer, I don’t know) thus ensues yet another case of mistaken identity that does nothing to help Calamity’s disastrous reputation. Throw into the mix some unrequited love and there you have it.

This is a musical choc full of familiar tunes, so familiar the audience sing along to the overture, however, they are delivered with mixed success. The big ensemble show-stoppers are the winners of the evening – The Black Hills of Dakota is particularly fine. A lack of crisp diction and tuning issues (and at times wandering off score, especially in a peculiar Secret Love) rendered many of Calamity’s best-known tunes almost unrecognisable. There’s also a fine line to tread when playing this part, whilst Calamity is as tough as they come, there’s also a vulnerability to her, which here, was completely trampled over in the gruff characterisation.

The issue of diction was prevalent throughout, not helped by under-amplification – many of the dialogue sequences were very garbled, particularly Calamity’s (Shiranne Burns). This year Christopher Morris, arguably the most talented company member, is the object of Calamity’s desire Lt. Danny Gilmartin, and only gets to showcase his wonderful voice in Love You Dearly. Along with Morris, it is Ray O’Sullivan’s Wild Bill Hickok that shines, his fabulously toned voice is perfectly suited to the era when this piece was created.

There’s still enough here to entertain, but with such iconic and well-loved material you have to tread carefully and deliver the highest quality. An admirable attempt but not without its faults.

REVIEW: The Gorbals Vampire – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Above the Gothic gatehouse of one of Glasgow’s cities of the dead, the Southern Necropolis, the sky flames red from the fiery furnaces of the nearby Dixon Blazes Iron Works. Hundreds of local children, from toddlers to teens, armed with stakes and knives, storm the graveyard in search of a vampire, not the highly romanticised version of modern times, but a seven foot, iron-toothed killer of two young boys. It’s 1954, it’s Glasgow’s Gorbals and it really happened…well…

Inspired by local myths and bogey man stories, and fuelled by US horror comics, an urban legend is born – The Gorbals Vampire.

There are “two wee empty chairs” at the back of a Gorbals’ primary school class, Chinese whispers in the playground escalate into full-blown hysteria as the “creative thinking” kids debate the fate of their two school pals. Night after night until the sun goes down, the pint-sized vigilantes return to hunt their man, and only the rain and the intervention of local headmasters puts an end to the marauder’s madness.

What would have been consigned to the local archives gained worldwide media coverage and a backlash against the American horror comics that were gaining popularity in the country. This mass indignation also spawned the 1955 Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, laws still in force today.

National treasure in the making, Johnny McKnight has not only created a work filled with humour, it is also a work cleverly and subtly interwoven with a social commentary on tenement life in Glasgow in the fifties – the overcrowding, neglect and social injustice, how this section of the city was unloved and unlistened to. This was the hardest part of town, and in the eyes of the police, if they were cowering indoors frightened of a 7-foot vampire then they weren’t on the streets bothering them.

The community cast of over 50 players makes the stage throb with life against the brilliant set design of Neil Haynes and the wonderfully atmospheric lighting of Stuart Jenkins, all enhanced by Kim Beveridge’s subtle but highly effective video projections – you can almost feel the metal tang in the air from Dixon Blazes.

This is a glorious celebration of Glasgow and what it means to be Glaswegian – when the chips are down, the community pulls together as one, the city’s divisions are forgotten and the people unite in a common cause.

A real gem of a production.

AMATEUR FOCUS: Hamilton ODC present Me and My Girl at Motherwell Concert Hall

Hamilton Operatic and Dramatic Club present musical theatre classic Me and My Girl this November.

Featuring the songs, Lambeth Walk, Leaning on a Lamppost, and The Sun Has Got His Hat On, the show tells the story of unsophisticated cockney Bill Snibson who learns that he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford.

Motherwell Concert Hall 15 – 19 November 2016



NEWS: Casting announced for Stage Experience Wizard of Oz

Glasgow Theatres’ Creative Learning team has announced the cast for its second Stage Experience production – The Wizard of Oz.

Among the 75-strong cast taking to the stage at Theatre Royal on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July is East Kilbride’s Cara McQuiston,13, as leading lady Dorothy; Keira Bell,16, from Prestwick as the Lion; Marcus Hyka,16, from Glasgow as the Scarecrow and Alastair McLeod,16, from Cumbernauld as the Tin Woodsman.

They will be joined by Anna Cowen, also from Glasgow, as the Wicked Witch of the West; Matthew Cunningham,16, from Bishopbriggs as the Wizard of Oz and Ellie MConnachie,14, from Erskine as Glinda the Good Witch of the East.

The production follows the success of Stage Experience’s performance of Bugsy Malone last year, with Director Rebecca Atack and Musical Director Ryan Moir returning to their roles alongside Choreographer Lisa Kennedy who joins the creative team for the first time.

The well-known story of The Wizard of Oz was originally penned by L. Frank Baum’s in his novel of the same name and follows Dorothy and her pet dog after they swept from Kansas by a tornado to the magical land of Oz. Hopeful to return home, the Munchkins and Glinda the Good Witch of the East suggest they find the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and ask for his help. After setting path on the yellow brick road, they meet some new friends including a Scarecrow who wants a brain, a Tin Woodsman who needs a heart, and a cowardly Lion who longs to be courageous. But before the great and powerful Oz considers their wishes, he demands they bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West – will they succeed before the witch gets her hands on the coveted ruby slippers?

This spellbinding musical features the much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score including Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road, and We’re Off To See The Wizard.

By arrangement with MusicScope and Stage Musicals Limited of New York, Stage Experience: The Wizard of Oz is an amateur production.

Glasgow Theatres’ Creative Learning team offers a unique training experience giving young performers the opportunity to act, dance, sing and follow the yellow brick road onto the prestigious Theatre Royal stage.




FRI 22 & SAT 23 JUL



BOX OFFICE: 0844 871 7647 Calls cost up to 7p per min plus your company’s access charge.

Full cast information

Cara McQuiston,13, will step into the glittery red shoes of Dorothy and just loves to perform. Cara attends musical theatre group, Cadzow Academy, weekly. She has bagged leading roles in school productions and she is also preparing to sit her singing exam with LAMDA.

Kiera Bell,16 is busy working on her roar as the Lion and has enjoyed singing and dancing from a young age. She has recently been preparing for her school show, We Will Rock You. When she is not on stage she enjoys spending time with her friends and is a huge fan of Harry Potter.

Matthew Cunningham, 16, will show off his power as the Wizard of Oz. He appeared in Bugsy Malone last year and plays piano and percussion in his spare time.

Anna Cowen,16, took on the role of Blousey Brown in Bugsy Malone and so she is no stranger to Theatre Royal. Anna is a member of Harlequin, Eastwood Youth Theatre Group and has featured on the BBC Watch Night programme. Anna plans to pursue a career in musical theatre and is eager to learn more about the production process.

Marcus Hyka, 14, is a triple threat with qualifications from LAMDA as well as dance skills in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, street dance, hip-hop and commercial. He also attends Vivace Theatre School and also appeared in last year’s Stage Experience production of Bugsy Malone as Fizzy.

Ellie McConnachie, 14, regularly sings and dances and has taken part in numerous shows over the years. She also plays guitar..

Alastair McLeod, 16, from Cumbernauld is a member of Stagecoach Stirling and the Scottish Youth Theatre. Last year he played the super-sleazy super-sneaky Fat Sam and is sure to shine in his new role as the Tin Woodsman. Alistair is a keen musician playing the piano, trumpet and the bagpipes. In addition to performing in school productions, Alastair regularly sings in school choirs.

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