Preview: Brassed Off by Bebington Dramatic Society
November 13, 2015
AMATEUR dramatics is changing with the times. After several decades based at Birkenhead’s Little Theatre, Bebington Dramatic Society has been back where it all began in 1924, the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight, for the past 15 years. And its extended family of cast and crew is getting wider all the time.
Director David Oliver has been with the company on-stage and off since 1986 and is hoping a final week of rehearsals to fine-tune performances alongside the Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass band in Paul Allen’s adaptation of Brassed Off, a sellout show back in 2008.
He says: “There is a core of people, in fact there are one or two who were there before me. But there are quite a few drama groups in Wirral now and when we recruit it’s often for one play and then they’ll move on to another, so it’s constantly changing, more fluid.
“The good side of that is you get a lot of younger people in; the downside is they will move around a lot more, especially because of their jobs.
“But the big plus is social media, which means we can audition people from Chester and Wrexham, although it is still mostly from Merseyside.”
An extended family of performers then, but Brassed Off, a smash-hit comedy drama with Peter Postlethwaite in 1996, is not quite light, family entertainment. And next up at the Gladstone is Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, an even grittier tale than the trials and tribulations of the Grimethorpe Colliery miners and unemployment.
“Brassed Off does have some strong language,” David admits. “It’s a poignant story but it’s lifted by the brass band which survives the mine and there are lots of familiar tunes, such as Jerusalem and The Willian Tell Overture.
“In fact, one of the main reasons we’re doing the show again is the band were so keen to play all those songs again.”
Brassed Off runs at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight from November 17-21.