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

PUBLISHED: 09:40 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:40 15 January 2015

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical


Spontaneous musical comedy at its finest with Showstopper!, Norfolk-born Simon Munday performs Great Baroque Trumpet Concertos, multi-award winning children’s author David Wood brings his Storytime, two folk talents perform together and there is a new play by Nigel Fairs and a UK premiere. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, January 17, 7.30pm, £20.50-£8.50, 01284 769505,

Ever come out of a musical thinking you could come up with a better plot? This improvised musical, gives you the chance. The premise focuses on a writer that has just one night to create a hit show to impress his producer. Stuck for ideas, he takes suggestions from the audience for a title, storylines and musical styles that they would like to see in the show. The resulting multi award-winning show is spontaneous musical comedy at its finest. A brand new musical is created at every performance – with audience suggestions turned into an all-singing, all-dancing production with unpredictable and hilarious results. It returns after a spell in the West End and tour around the world, as well as six sell-out seasons at Edinburgh Fringe.


A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol

Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, January 15-17, 21-24, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Jan 24, £9 (£7 cons), 01603 628319,

You may have thought you’d seen and heard the back of Christmas, but not yet as the first production of the New Year at Norwich’s Sewell Barn is the UK premiere of this winter warmer by Walton Jones, David Wohl and Faye Greenberg. Set on Christmas Eve, 1943, the Feddington Players are in a tiny studio in Newark, New Jersey, broadcasting their take on A Christmas Carol. A performance that centres on the production of a ‘live’ radio show of a Christmas classic, as seen from the recording studio, in this comedic story, all that could go wrong does go wrong, from noisy plumbing to electrical blackouts. But the show must go on!


David Wood’s Storytime

Norwich Playhouse, January 17, 2pm, £6, 01603 598598,

David Wood’s stage adaptations include Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Fantastic Mr Fox, Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Olivier Award-winning adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s classic novel Goodnight Mister Tom. This storytelling performance - with magic, music and audience participation – is of David’s play/book/TV series, featuring Herr Von Cuckoo, Mr Salt, Miss Pepper, the Old (Tea) Bag, the ever-hungry Sleek the Mouse and, of course, The Gingerbread Man!


Great Baroque Trumpet Concertos

St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, January 17, 7.30pm, £15 (£13 cons), under-18s £5, 01603 628319,

Norfolk-born Simon Munday quickly made it to the top of his field, and, far from his roots in Sheringham playing in the Salvation Army and Norfolk County Youth Orchestra, he now tours the world. He is a rarity in that he remains equally happy performing on modern and natural trumpets; he is as sought after to play with the big symphony orchestras as he is to feature on natural-trumpet. This home county concert features music by Torelli, Telemann, Albinoni, Hellendaal and Corelli.


Didn’t You Used To Be Derek Jacobi?

Fisher Theatre, Bungay, January 16, 7.30pm, £10, 01986 897130,

This new play about friendship, sometimes heart-warming, sometimes heart-breaking, is written and performed by Nigel Fairs. Douglas Roberts (who used to be the Milky Bar kid) gets his first West End job and discovers that not only has he got his own dressing room (with a fridge) but that he’s in a cast with Sir Derek Jacobi and an actress from Crossroads. “It’s partly based on a friendship I had with a wonderful older actor whilst we were in The Mousetrap,” says Fairs, “so it starts quite light and theatrical, but then develops into something a lot deeper and, ultimately, more moving.”


Amy Wadge and Luke Jackson

Anteros Arts, Fye Bridge Street, Norwich, January 17, £10, 01603 766129,

Double finalist in the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Luke Jackson - nominated for both the Young Folk Award and the coveted Horizon Award for best emerging talent – in a double-header alongside Amy Wadge, known for her collaboration with Ed Sheeran. Having rapidly made a name on the acoustic roots, Luke possesses an outstanding voice and stage presence that belie his twenty years. Amy, who has great vocal range in her emotive songs, has twice won the Best Solo Female Artist title at the Welsh Music Awards, ahead of Charlotte Church in 2002 and Cerys Matthews in 2003.

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