Pioneering Theatre, Music and Community Arts

 In Wolverhampton from 1980 to 2013


1982 - 2013

Zip Theatre gratefully

received support


Awarded the

Matrix Standard for


Advice & Guidance

“Excellent - from the first phone call to the curtain call!”

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2013 Back to



Zip Puts on Panto with Gusto: Sleeping Beauty

Express & Star, 3.12.01

Currently touring this delightful 90-minute production throughout schools across Wolverhampton, Zip Theatre has a real winner in this first class rendition of the classic pantomime. Tailor made to suit a school audience, this show works incredibly well, as the enthusiastic response from its young viewers at St Mary's & St John's Primary School demonstrated.

Zip combine all the magical elements of traditional modern panto here - bright and sparkly costumes, colourful and expressive scenery, lots of popular sing-alongs and dance routines and slapstick comedy - all coupled with an impressive enthusiasm. Wonderfully scripted by Leslie Beaumont, the show immediately grabbed the attention of youngsters and had them joining in right from the start.

Dennis French as the over-dramatic Queen Barbara of Borealis - all big hair and fur - gives a superbly outrageous performance which had the young audience in stitches. Colin Dixon, playing both King Conk of Lambrusco and his son, Prince Michael, connects brilliantly with the children and also takes on the show's many popular songs.

As in every great panto there has to be a baddie, coming here in the form of Lesley Beaumont as Grisly Gussie, with Kathryn O'Connor as her dizzy sidekick Bootlace. The pair turn in a suitably nasty comic performance, coaxing many jeers and boos from the audience with ease.

Clare Russell and Dyll Ferreday give sturdy turns as the witty wand-waving Milly and Dilly, making great use of their Black Country accents to bag plenty of laughs.

Finally, Zip have uncovered a new addition to their many talents in Sharon Ryal who plays Princess Aurora of Borealis - Sleeping Beauty - who, despite having never acting before, shines out as a natural.

A great show - and not just entertaining for kids.

The Dumb Waiter

Wolverhampton Chronicle 16.3.90
Zip Theatre did a Pinter classic proud at the Arena

Zip Theatre's fine production of Harold Pinter's play The Dumb Waiter was just as it should be - short and bitter-sweet. Young Wolverhampton actors Peter Vincent and Colin Dixon moved uneasily around a simple, seedy set at the Polytechnic's Arena Theatre, waiting nervously.

They used Pinter's sharp dialogue with dry, cynical wit. As the tension built, as the realisation stole upon the onlookers that a murder was going to be committed, the humour became more bitter, more desperate. Uneasy laughter punctuated the performance.

At the start of the play a loud whisper from the audience that the picture on the set was crooked provoked nervous but irresistable giggles. That was typical. The performance was full of comedy but everyone knew that really they shouldn't be smiling.

Everyone was waiting - waiting dumbly for something terrible to happen. (Steven Morris)

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