Six of the Best: Cultural highlights not to miss this week

PUBLISHED: 10:01 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:01 03 November 2014

Dr Peter Wothers brings science to life in The Modern Alchemist

Dr Peter Wothers brings science to life in The Modern Alchemist

(c) Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd

The Modern Alchemist brings to magic to science, Sheffield would-be pop star John Shuttleworth returns, there is an acclaimed stage production of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Crude Apache celebrate 20 years with a new Macbeth and The South perform all the hits. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.


The Modern Alchemist

Norwich Theatre Royal, November 3, 1pm, returns only/7pm, £8-£5, 01603 630000,

Looking back, chemistry lessons only offered the lure of the odd spell behind the Bunsen burner and an occasional exciting explosion (all under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, of course) if you were lucky. That is all set to change with this new show aiming to show science can be fun. Unlike hundreds of years ago, this alchemist will also be explaining exactly how the experiments work and how they fit in with our day-to-day lives. And Dr Peter Wothers, a teaching Fellow with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, who will star in the show, says it will be a great way to demonstrate to the younger generation the benefits of science.


John Shuttleworth

Norwich Playhouse, November 3, 8pm, £16.50, 01603 598598,

A national institution and the ‘42nd best reason to love Britain’ (according to the Daily Telegraph), the Sheffield would-be pop star, perpetually hampered by passive-aggressive wife Mary and misguided agent Ken, is back on the road after a longish absence with new show A Wee Ken To Remember. The Sony and Perrier nominated comic creation of Graham Fellows, wants to share fond memories of his favourite past weekends. However, a typo on the poster means John is obliged to spend the evening paying homage to his next-door neighbour and agent. There will be new ditties like Bitter Sweet Memories and Relatives In Rotherham too.


The Pearl

Norwich Playhouse, November 4, 7.30pm/November 5, 1pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01603 598598,

When impoverished Kino finds the ‘pearl of the world’ he believes his family’s life will be transformed forever.

Seduced by the pearl’s beauty and promise of riches, he is blind to the danger of having something that everyone else wants. Instead of bringing hope, the pearl leads Kino and his family down a dark and dangerous path.

Acclaimed Dumbshow, who specialise in visually arresting storytelling theatre, will bring John Steinbeck’s novella The Pearl to life. The timeless fable about the allure of wealth, the confines of class, and the redemptive power of love, is told in a show aimed at ages 11 and over with their trademark visual inventiveness and playful theatricality.



Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, November 5-15, 7.30pm, £5, 01603 663922,

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Norwich’s renowned theatre company Crude Apache will perform their new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Back in 1994 ‘The Scottish Play’ was the first show the company ever performed, in the Rotunda in Norwich Castle and many of the original cast are still involved with the company to this day. Following their outstanding sell-out performances of The Transports last year, they return to Dragon Hall which promises to provide an atmospheric setting for the tragedy with its dramatic roof space, timbered walls and dark corners. There will be nine performances between November 5 and 15.


The Bach Players

Octagon Chapel, Colegate, Norwich, November 6, 7.30pm, £17.50-£12.50, £5 students (on door), under-18s free,

01603 628319,

Entitled Sleepers Awake!, this concert features music for Advent by JS Bach and Buxtehude, including Bach’s Cantata Wachet auf, with Rachel Elliott soprano, Sally Bruce-Payne mezzo, Samuel Boden, tenor, and Jonathan Gunthorpe, bass. Instruments include strings, three oboes and a bassoon. Its a rich programme of joyous, uplifting music to mark the start of the Advent season.


The South

King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, November 6, 7.30pm, £21, 01553 764864,

The Beautiful South split in 2007, but several members of the band weren’t ready to let it go. So singers Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler, alongside life long members Damon Butcher (keyboards), Gaz Birtles (sax) and Tony Robinson (trumpet), came out of retirement and formed this nine-piece band. Expect a hit packed show featuring A Little Time - the bands number one single - Perfect 10, Rotterdam, Old Red Eyes, Good as Gold, Don’t Marry Her and more. Special guest support from Tristan Mackay.

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