Spring awakening

Davron Hicks as Danilo and Gwen Nimmo as Anna, The Merry Widow, Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Davron Hicks as Danilo and Gwen Nimmo as Anna, The Merry Widow, Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society

April promises to be a month of mellow fruitfulness on the local amateur stage with a whole raft of spring productions.

For the first time in several decades, Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society have decided to stray from the world of the legendary Savoy Operas, cross the Channel and head straight for the glory of the fading Hapsburg empire with Viennese classic The Merry Widow.

Franz Lehar’s piece of musical froth, which premiered in 1905 and tells the resolutely lightweight story of a rich widow and her countrymen’s attempt to keep her money in their principality by finding her the right husband, might seem as far from the Topsy Turvy world of G&S as you can get.

But Dore director Graham Weston thinks it is the fact that it is so different that is making it so much fun for both the company to rehearse and himself to direct.

“The Merry Widow is a show I am fairly familiar with and I do like it but I haven’t directed it before but that’s good for me because it means I can enjoy not being under the constraint of the G&S tradition.

“But actually The Merry Widow isn’t too far from G&S – it’s just a bit more frivolous, which I like.”

The company is back at the Montgomery Theatre for the production – and again, Graham thinks that’s the right location for this sort of show.

“It’s the proper space for it,” he says. “It’s a real proscenium arch show – it needs to be in a theatre like this.

“And I would say that doing Lehar is doing me good – it’s stimulating the old grey matter, the change is good for me and I think it’s good for the company too.”

The Merry Widow runs from April 9 to 12. Tickets: 2507155.

In the year marking 100 years since the start of the First World War the Denys Edwards Players are putting on Peter Whelan’s The Accrington Pals.

It is based on the true story of The Accrington Pals Battalion – the smallest town to raise a battalion,

To better understand their characters and the type of lives that they led the cast have not only been rehearsing but researching the story behind it and other towns who raised a battalion.

They visited the current First World War exhibition at Weston Park Museum and found a lot of common ground between the Sheffield Pals and those in Accrington.

The Accrington Pals will be performed at the Library Theatre from April 16-19. Tickets: 2748299 or email sbtoulson@talktalk.net

To celebrate the 75th birthday of one of British theatre’s most popular and prolific playwrights, the 53 Theatre Group will be performing Flat Spin by Alan Ayckbourn.

The play was written in 2001, the second in a trilogy of plays called Damsels in Distress ((Game Plan and Role Play being the others) and focuses on Rosie Seymour, a struggling actress moonlighting as a cleaner in a swanky London apartment who is mistaken by handsome neighbour for the flat’s owner.

The play runs at the Library Theatre from April 9-12, the last night coincidentally being Sir Alan’s birthday. Tickets: 2862740 or email info@53group.org.uk.

Ecclesall Theatre Company are presenting Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables at the Parish Hall on Ringinglow Road, from April 29 to May 3.