At the Theatre: Young Guns Fly the Flag; Story of Musical Youth's Success Hits Road

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), February 16, 2001 | Go to article overview

At the Theatre: Young Guns Fly the Flag; Story of Musical Youth's Success Hits Road


Byline: FRED NORRIS

SPRING, perhaps, cannot be too far away after all. Not in the theatre at least. Suddenly the accent is on youth. Indeed, throughout the Midlands this week, youth is springing out all over.

At the Birmingham Rep, for instance, rehearsals are underway for a brand new play called Musical Youth. It turns the clock back to 1982 when five young Brummies suddenly claimed far more than everyone's quota of 15minutes of fame when they made a record called Pass The Dutchie.

Birmingham's first boy band made it big - perhaps too big. They were whisked on a whirlwind international tour, meeting big stars in America and playing huge concerts in Jamaica.

But fame has its costly price. The trouble is it only heightens the pain and the pitfalls. And they came along by the bucketful.

The play is the work of Nigel Moffatt, a local writer who, quite apart from being a resident writer at the National Theatre also spent two years as writer-in-residence at Shrewsbury Prison. For his work there he won a special prison service award.

His latest play is rather special, too, and the Rep is giving it special treatment. And all the way along the line, the accent is on youth - on stage and in the audience.

For starters, the play is the 2001 Sir Barry Jackson Community tour project. Sir Barry was the founder of the Rep back in its Station Street days in 1913 and the annual tour is one of the many ways his memory is preserved.

The young cast, including Marva Alexander, Paul Blackstock, Jason Bunting-Johnson and Derek Ezenagu, embark on a tour of schools and colleges later this month, opening in Solihull on February 26, 7.30pm at the Dovehouse Theatre, Langley School, Kineton Green Road, on Monday February 26 (tickets pounds 4.50 and pounds 3.50, Box Office on 0121 704 6979) through until a date at Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College on March 17.

Ambitious

And then it's a season at the Rep's studio theatre, The Door, on March 19 until the end of the month. And following that, it's back on the road again, this time to schools in Nottinghamshire. It's all go.

The Rep this week is also working on plans for its summer festival of writing aimed at young writers aged 11-25. Although the festival, called Transmissions is not until July, next week they will be workshopping their 2001 entries. Guest are invited along for a sneak preview next Wednesday.

Over the next few weeks, too, Birmingham's stars of tomorrow will be taking part in yet another youth venture. …

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