MOMENTS after bringing to life one of the most tragic love stories ever told - a Stourbridge stage couple celebrated their own happy ever after following a shock proposal backstage.

It was following a sell out last night show of West Side Story at Stourbridge Town Hall that romantic stage star Mitchell Bastable sprang the surprise on sweetheart Beth Berwick-Lowe who had just enjoyed a successful stint playing her dream role of Maria in the play about ill-fated love and rival gangs.

Cunning Mitchell, who played Bernardo - leader of the Sharks, had planned the whole thing for the last few months but when Beth opened a fortune cookie during a dinner the night before the final show which said ‘tomorrow the colour red will be lucky for you’ he knew he was meant to pop the question to his very own leading lady following her last scenes as scarlet dress clad Maria.

Halesowen News:

So after the curtain fell on the Tab Operatic Society show - he pretended Beth was wanted for a photograph to be taken on the set balcony.

None the wiser - his 24-year-old sweetheart, still in her red Maria dress, complied and waited patiently on the balcony.

But she told the News: “I thought the guy taking the photo looked a bit unsure.

"I looked down and then saw Mitch climbing up the ladder to the balcony and he just had this look on his face; then he did this lovely speech and got down on one knee which was lovely.”

Former professional singer and holiday park entertainments director Mitchell, aged 44, said: “Everybody thought we were going to do it in New York before Christmas but I thought it was obvious - everyone does it in New York - so I decided to do it at the end of the show when the curtain had closed.

"I didn’t want to take the shine off the show which was a really big success, probably the best the Tab has ever put on.”

Diane Bate, of the Tab, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic show and we had a great week - and we’d like to congratulate Mitchell and Beth. I don’t think all the cast knew what was going to happen. It was a lovely touch."

The romantic gesture was also screened live on Facebook so that family and friends could witness the special moment.

Mitchell and Beth, from Kidderminster, who met on the amateur dramatics circuit, now hope to tie the knot in 2020.