A LARGE slice of life will be on the menu when the hit musical Carousel spins into town from March 14-17.
Performed by Astwood Bank Operatic Society at the Palace Theatre, it is a tale more akin to a gritty episode of EastEnders than a traditional love story as well as the showstopping hits like ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Scratch the surface of a seemingly idyllic existence and there lies a world of poverty laced with domestic violence.
If that might make some people recoil, first-time director Carole Massey from Smallwood is keen to emphasise that this is a story of a strong woman making brave choices and bringing hope for the future.
“I got the text and read it through as a play,” said Carole, a stage veteran of both amateur and professional productions.
“And I have deliberately avoided other productions – if people want to see the film they can watch on DVD.”
That means updating the setting from the 1870s to the 1950s making the characters more relevant to the audience.
And anyone who says you have got to have a carousel in Carousel is in for short shrift.
“Given the size of the Palace stage, that was a no-go, so we are using video instead,” said Carole, a former nurse at the Alex.
“The carousel is a symbol, a symbol of poverty and domestic violence, but the thing is you can get off that merry-go-round. There is always hope and it’s determined not by your parents or your background but the choices you make.”
Packed with knockout numbers and with leads like David Steele and Sophie Grogan as Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan, the audience are in for a treat.
The songs include ‘If I loved you’, ‘My Boy Bill’, ‘What’s the use of Wond’rin’’ as well as ‘June Is Bustin’ Out All Over’, ‘The Carousel Waltz’, ‘When I Marry Mr Snow’ and ‘When the Children are Asleep’.
Carousel was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for the stage and was first performed in 1945.
Tickets for the show at the Palace are £16/£17 on 01527 63319, from the box office in person, on online at http://www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk/