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1st Jul, 2022

Belly laughs and more as Utopia sails into Redditch for a great night out

Ross Crawford 25th Feb, 2017

TAKE a barrel load of barbed comments, add a lush tropical setting, a generous helping of ridiculous comic situations and serve with some great tunes for a light and enjoyable evening at the Palace Theatre.

That’s the recipe for success as Astwood Bank Operatic Society take to the stage with their production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s hit show Utopia.

And if you’ve never come across the comic opera before, you’re in for a treat says Steve Skinner of ABOS.

“It’s surprisingly topical – the monarchy, the political situation, privatisation – iit’s one of their most satirical works – and this production tries to point up the present-day similarities – with a few modern references incorporated, of course,” he said.

The plot is simple yet excruciatingly funny – well meaning Brits trying to impose their values and ‘civilisation’ on a tropical island which, as the name suggests, is already Utopia.

Throw in unscrupulous businesses with foundations built on sand and the result is a winning combination for the audience, and a real challenge for the cast.

“The hardest part this year has been casting all the many roles; and then, now, persuading people to come and see a relatively unknown show,” said Steve.

And with the production costing a relatively ‘cheap’ £15,000 to put on, the people of Redditch and beyond are needed to show their support and be willing to be thoroughly entertained in the process.

“We are almost totally dependent on ticket sales for our continued existence,” said Steve. “Apart from members’ subscriptions and donations from Redditch Round Table and Astwood Bank Carnival committee, for which we are very grateful, it’s our only source of income.”

Not only that but there’s learning the lines, finding a musical director, sourcing the costumes and casting the roles to make sure it’s all a success.

Utopia runs from Wednesday, March 8 until Saturday, March 11 at the Palace Theatre.

Tickets cost from just £8 for children, £15 for adults from the box office in person or on 01527 65203, or online at http://www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk/ or save on the £1 booking fee and buy direct ffrom ABOS on 01527 63319 or email tickets@astwoodbankoperatic.co.uk .

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