Special event: Musicals!

To brighten up Autumn, Cheltenham Film Society has organised a day of film musicals at Cheltenham Playhouse. The event comprises three films and an after-show party and takes place all day on Saturday 26 October.

The musical is one of the most important and entertaining genres in cinema and dates back to the earliest days of sound, when Al Jolson delighted audiences with The Jazz Singer. The three films we have chosen – Sing Street, The Boy Friend and Cabaret – cover the range from teenage comedy to decadent adult drama. We hope you will join us for this celebration of the art of the musical.


11.00am Sing Street (12A) 2016 106 minutes

Sing Street is a delightful coming-of-age musical about a boy, Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who forms a band in 1980s Ireland in a bid to impress Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a would-be model. The band start off playing cover versions but rapidly move into writing their own New Romantic compositions, wearing makeup and creating music videos. The film is a funny and touching version of director John Carney’s upbringing in Dublin, where he attended the real Synge Street school, a tough establishment run by the Christian Brothers. He chose unknown young actors as his leads, who also sing their own songs. Much of the music was composed by Gary Clark of the band Danny Wilson, but the director himself also chipped in. Sing Street is as much fun as The Commitments but more romantic, with the band dreaming bigger dreams.

Price £6 for public, £5 for CFS members.


2.30pm The Boyfriend (U) 1971 137 minutes

Our event offers a rare chance to see this musical on the big screen. Polly Browne (Twiggy) is an understudy in a seaside revival of a 1920s show, ‘The Boy Friend’. She finds herself unexpectedly promoted to the lead after the star (an uncredited Glenda Jackson) is injured, and then a Hollywood producer drops in to see the show. The legendary model of the Sixties had retired from the catwalk when she made the film. Her screen debut came about because the director Ken Russell, struggling with his incendiary drama The Devils, was looking for a light-hearted follow-up. He joked with a journalist that he was going to cast Twiggy in Sandy Wilson’s 1950s frolic The Boy Friend, a musical about a production of a musical. Then MGM, which owned the rights to Wilson’s show, persuaded him to make it. The result is sparky, visually inventive, good-humoured and packed with classic songs.

Price £6 for public, £5 for CFS members.


7.30pm Cabaret (15) 1972 124 minutes

A young American singer, Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), arrives in 1930s Berlin. She becomes involved with a young British teacher, Brian Roberts (Michael York), and then they both become entangled with a German playboy. Meanwhile, a German Jew posing as a Protestant is in love with a Jewish heiress and has to reveal his true identity. Sourced from the Berlin stories of Christopher Isherwood, the film is an extensive remodelling of the 1966 stage musical by Kander and Ebb, with new songs and a sharper focus on the decadent Kit Kat club, presided over by a sinister Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey). As Sally’s story unfolds, we witness the rise of the Nazis in the background. Directed by Bob Fosse, the film went on to win eight Oscars, including best director and best actress.

The film will be followed by an after-show party in the Playhouse’s cabaret bar. It is included in the price of Cabaret: £8 for public, £5 for CFS members.


Tickets are available to the public through the Playhouse box office (01242 522852 or www.cheltplayhouse.org.uk). Member discount is only available for tickets bought in person on presentation of your current membership card, or on CFS film nights during October.