Mayhem, murder, music and much more

Members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre after a circus and performing workshop for their forthcoming production of The Greatest Show on Earth. Third from right, is Hannah Thompson, from Newcastle-based Five Ring Circus, who ran the workshop. Fourth from right is Jo Potts, Playhouse manager.
Members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre after a circus and performing workshop for their forthcoming production of The Greatest Show on Earth. Third from right, is Hannah Thompson, from Newcastle-based Five Ring Circus, who ran the workshop. Fourth from right is Jo Potts, Playhouse manager.

It truly promises to be a show like no other as the talented youngsters of north Northumberland return to the stage at the end of the month.

Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre’s latest production contains a wealth of influences, combining circus skills, song and dance and a detective mystery.

Members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre in a circus workshop and rehearsals for their forthcoming production of The Greatest Show on Earth.

Members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre in a circus workshop and rehearsals for their forthcoming production of The Greatest Show on Earth.

The performances, on Saturday and Sunday, November 29 and 30, see the different age groups combine to present The Greatest Show On Earth with circus skills and musical songs from Barnum, which provides the backdrop for the Baker Street Irregulars’ murder-mystery investigation for Sherlock Holmes.

The title of the production comes from the Oscar-winning 1952 Cecil B DeMille film, which is set in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Meanwhile, the songs come from the 1980 Broadway musical based on the life of the showman who gave the circus its name, PT Barnum.

It covers the period from 1835 through 1880 in America and major cities of the world where Barnum took his performing companies.

The production combines elements of traditional musical theatre with the spectacle of the circus, and the same is true of the young performers’ forthcoming effort in Alnwick.

While acting, song and dance may have been in the Youth Theatre’s repertoire, circus skills were not.

And so, Hannah Thompson, from Newcastle-based Five Ring Circus, has run workshops, which have been funded by BBC Performing Arts Fund – the Playhouse was one of only 58 successful bids in the country this year.

The final element of the performances revolves around a murder mystery featuring The Baker Street Irregulars, the street children employed by Sherlock Holmes as intelligence agents.

Playhouse manager Jo Potts is overseeing the production, after Cheryl Stewart and Judy Tribe stepped down earlier this year.

Tickets for the performance – 2pm and 7pm on Saturday, November 29, and 5pm on Sunday, November 30 – cost £8, £7 concessions and £6 children.