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

PUBLISHED: 09:12 12 September 2014 | UPDATED: 09:12 12 September 2014

Big Daddy Vs. Giant Haystacks, starring Ross Gurney-Randall and Dave Mounfield

Big Daddy Vs. Giant Haystacks, starring Ross Gurney-Randall and Dave Mounfield


In the 1970s and 80s there were no Saturday teatime TV stars bigger than Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks — literally, now their story has been turned into a touching and hilarious comedy play, performance poets Mark Grist & Tim Clare go head-to-head, folk musician Benji Kirkpatrick has a solo date, one of London’s most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras visits and there is a celebration of Roald Dahl. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks

Diss Corn Hall, September 13, 7.30pm, £11 (£9 cons), 01379 652241,

Every Saturday, from 1976 to 1988, millions were in the grip of an extraordinary sports phenomenon: watching Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks — aka Shirley Crabtree and Martin Ruane — pretend to fight each other. It’s different to believe just how popular they were. Now their story has been turned into an ambitious, touching and hilarious comedy play Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks by writing team Joseph Nixon and Brian Mitchell. The show brings back to grunting, grappling life these two hugely popular battling behemoths and the bizarre world they bestrode. With an “all-star cast”, including Dickie Davies, Paul McCartney, Chris Tarrant, Frank Sinatra, Princess Margaret, and Greg Dyke, the two-hander conjures up a whole nation during its most colourful era. All the parts are played by actors Ross Gurney-Randall and Dave Mounfield, who were perhaps grateful they didn’t have to pile on the weightscale busting pounds.


Mark Grist & Tim Clare

The King’s Arms, Shouldham, September 12, 9pm, free admission,

The annual Beer and Music Festival at Shouldham is just the place to enjoy a perfect pint and barroom banter as they welcome performance poets Mark Grist and Tim Clare, both famed for their fresh, straight from the hip, fast-talking, quick thinking, laugh-out-loud delivery. Recently back from Latitude and The Edinburgh Fringe, Mark, fresh out of class from BBC’s Mr Drew’s School for Boys rapping teacher Mark and Norfolk poet Tim offer a unique approach which involves the audience in their on-the-spot, knockout bout of wit and words.


Benji Kirkpatrick

Norwich Folk Club, Christ Church Centre, Magdalen Road, Norwich, September 12, 8pm, £10 (£7 members),

Multi instrumentalist, singer and writer of songs, Benji Kirkpatrick was born to folk luminaries John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris in the summer of 1976 whilst they were on a rare break from touring. This set the pattern for his future life - as a much sought after, busy musician he seems to be constantly touring. He can mostly be found playing with folk big band Bellowhead and the Seth Lakeman band but has also released solo albums and here visits Norwich Folk Club for a solo date. He plays various instruments of the stringed variety; guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and banjo, and also sings.


Roald Dahl Day

The Atrium, North Walsham, September 13, from 9.30am, 01692 400080,

The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on September 13, on the birthday of the world’s most popular children’s storyteller. This year the festivities are also marking 50 years of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, first published in 1964 and that’s the excuse for a special day of activities at the Atrium in North Walsham. There will be a Pop Up Chocolate Factory Workshop (9.30am-10.30am, £6 per child, accompanying adult free). Then a screening of the Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (11am, £3 per child, accompanying adults free). Having proven itself as a favourite film of children around the world, the 1971 film with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka captures the timeless appeal of Dahl’s classic. Why not enjoy a few snozzcumbers and partake in a little whizzpopping?


Orchestra of St Paul’s Covent Garden

St Mary’s Church, Culley’s Pit Road, Tunstead, September 13, 7pm, £10 door, 01692 538041,

The Orchestra of St Paul’s is one of London’s most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras. Under the baton of musical director Ben Palmer, they have developed a reputation for imaginative programming and exciting, stylish performances. Here they are joined by Norfolk soloists Victoria Bonham piano (right), Matthew Dunnett tenor and Freddie Gavita flugelhorn for a programme that includes Britten Simple Symphony, Elgar Serenade for Strings and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. There will also be two world premieres of Norfolk composer James Kenelm Clarke’s Piano Concerto and Five Songs. Concert in aid of Tunstead Church.


Fat Cat Comedy Club

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, September 14, 8pm, £12, 01284 758000,

Bury’s great monthly comedy night returns with a line-up that includes UK-based Canadian comic Pete Johansson, who has just finished a month at the Edinburgh with his show Several Jokes which he will be taking around the country later this year. Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer 2014 winner Alex Edelman draws upon astute social observations alongside his student experiences at New York. MC for the night is comedian, actor and writer Alistair Barrie a member of The Cutting Edge team at London’s Comedy Store.

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