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

PUBLISHED: 10:01 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 September 2014

Helen McDermott, Annette Jude, Susie Turner,  Adrian Wright and John Knowles who are putting on Flopsical, a show about musicals that didn't succeed but which each boast a good tune.Picture by Simon Finlay.

Helen McDermott, Annette Jude, Susie Turner, Adrian Wright and John Knowles who are putting on Flopsical, a show about musicals that didn't succeed but which each boast a good tune.Picture by Simon Finlay.


Golden nuggets from musicals that failed and have been long forgotten are revived in the show Flopsical!, a who’s who of 1980s hit-makers take to the stage at the Reload Festival, seadogs meet landlubbers at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, Jerome K Jerome’s classic Three Men in a Boat is staged and its eyes to the skies for Seething Charity Air Day. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Three Men In A Boat

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, September 4-12, £26-£8.50, 01284 769505,

It’s a story that has made people laugh for 125 years and seems to have lost little of its magic in all that time.

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) is pretty remarkable because the author, Jerome K Jerome, had originally set out to write a serious book. The three men are based on the adventures or misadventures of Jerome (the narrator J) and two real-life mates, George Wingrove (later a senior manager at Barclays Bank) and Carl Hentschel (owner of a printing business and called Harris in the book), with whom he had taken previous boating trips. The Original Theatre Company, the producer of Birdsong, has teamed up with Bury Theatre Royal to give this classic tale not just a different look but an entirely different sound because the blindingly bright blazers and wild adventures are backed on this occasion with a working pub, live piano accompaniment, music hall singing, and a feast of physical comedy.


Reload Festival

Norfolk Showground, September 5-7, weekend camping tickets £99, £42 children, weekend admission tickets £70, £30 children, day tickets from £39, £18 children), 0871 2241112,

Get ready for a nostalgia as a who’s who of 1980s hit-makers take to the stage at the Norfolk Showground this weekend. The roll call includes Kool And The Gang, Soul II Soul, Human League, Billy Ocean, Rick Astley, Sister Sledge, Hot Chocolate, ABC, Five Star, Aswad, From The Jam, Heaven 17, Go West, The Real Thing, Jason Donovan, Bjorn Again, Odyssey and many more. “I’m looking forward to seeing Mr Astley and all my pop buddies,” says Martin Fry, frontman of ABC. “I’ve toured a lot with the Human League, and I think I’ve played with Sister Sledge. These shows are like doing Top of the Pops all over again. Everyone’s very focused and on top of their game, because you want to play a great show in front of your contemporaries.”


Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

South Quay, Great Yarmouth, September 6-7, 10am-6pm (5pm Sept 7), free admission (£1 donation welcome),

Tall ships, small ships, life-saving boats and historic vessels. Add a mixture of all things nautical including shanty singers and the scene is set for the 15th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival. The annual two-day event returns to South Quay to celebrate the town’s proud maritime history and future. Dutch tall ships the Minerva and the Tres Hombres will be among the ships in port. Meet Admiral Nelson, enjoy military re-enactments, street theatre, Punch and Judy shows and face painting and balloon modelling. Shanty and maritime music will be performed throughout the weekend. Crafts such as lace making, spinning and gansey knitting as well as maritime wood carving will also be demonstrated. Food features high on the attractions with the Feast of Fish cookery demonstrations from top Norfolk chefs.


Le Theatre de Decadence

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, September 6, 7.30pm, £16.50, 01603 620917,

Le Theatre de Decadence is one of the Maddermarket’s biggest crowd pleasers. This stylish variety show brings some of the most well-known and talented performers from today’s burlesque and cabaret scene. Following previous sell out successes, they return with a special burlesque and variety show in which Miss Natalya Umanska, finalist for Burlesque Idol 2013, invites you to witness some of the country’s most well-reputed burlesque and cabaret artists in a dark twisted tale. Including acts from legendary performers, Vicky Butterfly and Edd Muir, this is a show not for the faint of heart! Audience members are encouraged to dress to impress and join in with the true theatrical spirit that defines burlesque.



Beccles Public Hall, September 7, 7.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), 01502 770062/Assembly House, Norwich, September 10, 7.30pm, 01603 630000,

Lovers of musical theatre should on no account miss this celebration of flop shows from Broadway and the West End. The history of the musical is full of shows that failed and been long forgotten, but that left us with unforgettable songs, the work of great names such as Rodgers and Hart, Noel Coward, Irving Berlin, Ivor Novello, Jerome Kern and Vincent Youmans. A fast-moving and funny mixture of music and stories with Helen McDermott and Adrian Wright, joined by Susie Turner, accompanied by Annette Jude, and interrupted by John Knowles. Further dates include Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston (Sept 13); Granary Theatre, Wells (Sept 17); Poringland Community Centre (Sept 19); North Walsham Atrium (Sept 27); and New Buckenham Village Hall (Sept 28).


Seething Air Day

Seething Airfield, September 7, gates from 10am, £10, £5 under-15, £25 family,

This year its annual Charity Air Day promises to be the best yet with an exciting and varied flying display which opens with Mark Grimshaw flying an L29 Delphin jet trainer and includes international aerobatic pilot Mark Jefferies in his Extra 330SC, the Breitling Wing-Walkers, Maurice Hammond’s Mustangs, the B25 Mitchell, the Wildcats formation aerobatics, a Rolls-Royce Spitfire and the BBMF Dakota, plus Lauren Richardson Pitts Special and the T-6 Texan (Harvard). On the ground there will be a wide range of classic and military vehicles on show, fairground rides, children’s entertainment, trade and charity stands and display stands from aviation-related and other organisations, plus food and drink stalls. Flying is from between 1.30pm and 2pm, weather depending. The day aims to raise as much money as possible for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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