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

PUBLISHED: 09:02 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:02 25 July 2014

Amomng the aircraft at this weekend's Old Buckenham Airshow will be a 1943 Staggerwing with the Wildcats

Amomng the aircraft at this weekend's Old Buckenham Airshow will be a 1943 Staggerwing with the Wildcats


Eyes to the skies at the Old Buckenham Airshow, there are production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Life & Beth and Richard Harris’s Stepping Out, Dr Seuss’ A Cat in the Hat is brought to life on stage, Norwich Baroque play a special concert in Alysham and there is comedy in Diss. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Old Buckenham Airshow

Old Buckenham Airfield, July 26-27, gates open 10am, £20 weekend, £10 Saturday, £15 Sunday, under-12s free, £12 1940s Hangar Dance, 01953 860806,

One of the world’s rarest aircraft is joining the fleet displaying at this weekend’s Old Buckenham Airshow. It’ll be hard to miss the bold buttercup colour of the Beech 17 Staggerwing, one of the most powerful aircraft of its time. Designed as a large, super quick and super cool luxury biplane in the 1930s and later loved by air racers as well as business tycoons. This year’s show promises even more excitement both in the air and on the ground. That ranges from the exploits of the Wildcat Aerobatics team, the RV8tors, Yak52 and Jet Provost, to first time appearances here by the Navion and the super fun aerobatic Taylor Titch. On the ground the displays range from classic cars and motorbikes to aircraft. Crowds won’t be able to miss the military display either. This starts with some heavyweights at the airfield entrance - with a seriously large tank and even a nuclear missile launcher!


Life & Beth

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, until August 2, 7.30pm, 2.30pm August 2, £12-£8, 01603 620917,

One of Alan Ayckbourn’s later plays, but also one of his funniest. This life-affirming ghost story was the first play he wrote after his own brush with death, a stroke he had suffered two years earlier. It’s Christmas and Beth Timms is mourning the recent death of her husband, Gordon. Gordon’s sister Connie, her son Martin and his strange girlfriend, Ella, have come to stay, supposedly to see that Beth has a stress-free festive break, but with Connie’s drink problem and Martin’s practical ineptitude, this is clearly not going to happen. Then Gordon, a pompous, domineering husband in life, returns from the dead, intent on helping Beth to “manage her affairs”. What is she to do? A wise, humane and funny play, it handles death and bereavement with a light touch.


Corn Hall Comedy Club

Diss Corn Hall, July 25, 8pm, £9 adv/£10 door, 01379 652241,

The Diss comedy night returns for a summer date with a reputation as the placer to spot future big names. Comics who’ve previously performed are regularly popping up on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Edinburgh Comedy Festival Live. This month they have charming northerner Craig Murray who is currently one of the hottest rising talents on the circuit. With a charismatic, mock-confrontational style, he is currently recognisable to many as the face of a series of comedy adverts for Plusnet. Following a widely-acclaimed Fringe run and a sold out London transfer, Liam Williams has just finished his debut national tour. Meanwhile compere for the night Tania Edwards is a comic and writer for shows such as Stand Up for the Week, Twit of the Year, Mock the Week and The Unbelievable Truth.


Stepping Out

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, July 25-26, 7.30pm, 2.30pm July 26, £20-£8.50, 01284 769505,

For those of us with daughters or sons who have ever taken a dance lesson, Richard Harris’s Stepping Out always acts as a happy reminder of those times. The show is unique in that the cast is required to have two left feet and tap very badly at first and then with increasing skill because, at the end, they’ve got to put on a sparkling performance in front of an audience. The question is will they make it? This is the challenge the local operatic society at Bury St Edmunds has set itself at the Theatre Royal this week. The decision to stage this as a summer show was taken at short notice following the success of Calendar Girls last year, their first straight play for nearly 40 years.


Handel and Friends

St Michael’s Church, Alysham, July 26, 7.30pm, £15 on door or via 01603 628319,

Norwich Baroque was formed in 2006 to specialize in original and lively interpretations of music by popular and less well known Baroque composers. The title of this latest concert was the choice of Alison Snape before she passed away a couple of months ago she was fully involved in its planning. Her and her husband were founding members of Aylsham Music Society and this concert is dedicated to her memory. It will also feature the premiere of the winning entry from the Losh-Atkinson Historic Sounds Composition Competition, Disconcerto, by Rupert Jeffcoat. Other pieces by Handel, Hebden, Stanley, Avison, Mudge and Jeffcoat.


The Cat in the Hat

Norwich Playhouse, July 26-27, 11am/1.30pm, £11, 01603 598598,

The much-loved book by Dr Seuss is brought brilliantly to the stage in a riot of magic, colour and rhyme.

From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the cat in the hat is the funniest and most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum find when she gets home...? A treat for young children and life-long fans of the deliciously dapper and wildly anarchic feline.

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