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Lichfield musical company set to perform Whistle Down the Wind

Eoin Edwards as The Man, with Lewis Mclaren as Poor Baby, Helen Kitteridge as Swallow and Emma Charnock as Brat – brother and sisters in the show. Picture: Robert Yardley

Eoin Edwards as The Man, with Lewis Mclaren as Poor Baby, Helen Kitteridge as Swallow and Emma Charnock as Brat – brother and sisters in the show. Picture: Robert Yardley

A Lichfield musical company is one of the first in the region to gain the rights to perform a show adapted from a famous film.

Lichfield Operatic Society is delighted to be performing Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s Whistle Down the Wind after its release for performance by amateur musical societies.

Made famous by the 1960s film starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates, it tells the story of children who mistake an escaped murderer hiding in a barn for Jesus Christ. This raises complex questions about faith and belief.

We see the story unfold through the simplistic eyes of the children and their acceptance of this man who brings them hope, but then through the very different eyes of the adults who hunt him down.

With wonderful orchestrations, it features well known songs such as Whistle Down The Wind and No Matter What – the latter made famous by Boyzone.

A spokesman said: “This show has everything, memorable music, gentle ballads and a great story. It will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think.”

And the production is very much a family affair. Some of the children are family and friends of members of the society who are also in the show. There are no fewer than 26 cast members who are related in some way!

Production Director Julie Mallaband said “I am delighted to be directing this show for the Operatic Society.

The children who will form Swallow’s gang in Whistle Down the Wind. Picture: Robert Yardley

The children who will form Swallow’s gang in Whistle Down the Wind. Picture: Robert Yardley

“I am particularly pleased to have both adults and children in the show and, having worked with the Lichfield Garrick Youth Theatre for a number of years, I am thrilled to see such young talent joining us for this show.

“In addition we have been well supported by Theatrics Stage School yet again.”

Commenting on the families taking part, Julie said: “It’s so nice to share an interest like this with your children, something that I have had the privilege of doing with my own children on a number of occasions.

“I am sure that Whistle Down the Wind will convince everybody that musical theatre is enjoyed by performers and audiences of any age.”

Taking on the Haley Mills role, Swallow, is Sutton Coldfield singer and actress Helen Kitteridge.

Helen Kitteridge as Swallow. Picture: Robert Yardley

Helen Kitteridge as Swallow. Picture: Robert Yardley

The 19-year-old recently appeared on TV with Miranda Hart.

She explained: “For Comic Relief this year I joined Miranda in Doing Something Funny for Money. I was part of a girl band – Onesie Direction – and we performed live on the One Show.”

Lichfield’s Eoin Edwards, who gave an outstanding performance in the society’s production of & Hyde, plays The Man.

Lichfield Operatic won the Lichfield Garrick Friends Award and the NODA West Midlands Regional Award for Best Amateur Musical Production in 2010 for Jekyll & Hyde.

Whistle Down the Wind will run at the Lichfield Garrick from November 12 to 16 at 7.30pm, plus a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets for the evening performances are £17 – matinee £13 – from the Lichfield Garrick box office on 01543 412121 or online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael,& Irene, Woods

    22nd October, 2013 at 3:14 am

    As grandparents, living ‘down-under’, it was wonderful to be able to read/view all information about the musical “Whistle. down the wind “. Our much loved/missed grandson Lewis Mc Laren, is playing the part of ‘poor baby ‘. We shall be flying in, for the final performance on the 16th of November, happy, proud, and very excited to be with family on this occasion .

    Thank you, so very much,
    Kind regards,
    Michael,&Irene Woods.

  2. Julie Mallaband

    22nd October, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    To Michael and Irene, how marvellous that you are travelling over. You must be our furthest travelling guests! Lewis is doing a wonderful job and you are going to be so proud of him. Look forward to seeing you there. Julie (Director)

  3. Keith and Andrea Robinson

    25th October, 2013 at 11:37 am

    We are lucky not to have to fly in to Lichfield from Kings Bromley to see our grandson perform we are able to travel by car!
    We have been fortunate to see our Grandson grow up and he appears to have a natural talent for dramatics, he recently performed in Matilda as her father at the Fradley dramatics and was the star of the show (no favourtism) also our Grandaughter Kirsten who was also in the show is showing signs of similar talent.
    We are looking forward imensly to the 15th. November when we go to see the show along with his aunt and uncle, Louise and Phil
    should be a great night
    Keith and Andrea