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

10:22 16 September 2014

Harry Shearer and Maureen Lipman in Daytona

Harry Shearer and Maureen Lipman in Daytona


Maureen Lipman and Harry Shearer reprise their West End roles in Daytona, Olivier award winning company OperaUpClose return with their dazzling La Traviata, 1980s hit-maker Nik Kershaw plays an intimate solo date, Tayo Aluko tells the life story of actor and singer Paul Robeson and there is ridiculous line dancing and slapstick parody of the western film genre Once Upon A Time In A Western. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.



Norwich Theatre Royal, September 15-20, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Sept 17/20, £19.50-£5.50, 01603 630000,

Maureen Lipman and Harry Shearer reprise their West End roles in this critically acclaimed play alongside its writer Oliver Cotton. Set in Brooklyn in the 1980s, they play three Holocaust survivors who moved to America and reinvented themselves following the Second World War. Harry and Maureen play married couple Joe and Elli, whose ballroom dancing practice is interrupted by the arrival of Joe’s brother, Billy, who has encountered someone from their past. Billy bursts back into their lives with an extraordinary story to tell. Gripping, funny, poignant and full of mystery, Daytona is a play with not one but two love stories at its heart.


La Traviata

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, September 16, 7.30pm, £26-£8.50, 01284 769505,

Olivier award winning company OperaUpClose return to the Theatre Royal for one night only with their dazzling production of Verdi’s ever-popular opera. Following their standout production of La Boheme which toured to Bury in June, this latest production is perfect for opera novices and aficionados; the thrilling tale of the tragic figure of a ‘fallen woman’ saturated with the sensational melodies of Giuseppe Verdi. Transforming the original 19th century tale to the contradictory time of grit, glitz, glamour and endless wild parties of the 1920s, Robin Norton Hale’s English translation maintains all that is magnificent about the classic structure of the story whilst offering audiences a truly innovative revival.


Nik Kershaw

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, September 18, 8pm, £20 adv/£22 door, 01284 758000,

Having recently told the Daily Mail that the four mega-hits he enjoyed in the 1980s had earned him millions, you have to assume Nik Kershaw tour out of love rather than necessity. Here he brings his solo retrospective tour Me, Myself and I to Bury celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first chart success. He will be performing songs and tells tales from his impressive career and takes (potentially) awkward questions from the audience. This is a rare opportunity to experience an intimate evening with the man, famously described by Elton John as, “the best song writer of a generation”.


Call Mr Robeson

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, September 18, 7.30pm, £16.50-£8.50, 01284 769505,

Written and performed by Tayo Aluko, with live piano accompaniment directed by Olusola Oyeleye, this play with songs is a rollercoaster journey through the life of African-American actor and singer Paul Robeson, highlighting how his activism led to his downfall. When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel. When he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he has to give the most difficult and important performance of his career. The production features Ol’ Man River and other classic songs, much fiery oratory, and that defiant testimony. It will also be at Diss Corn Hall on October 2, St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth on October 3 and the Guildhall Theatre in King’s Lynn on October 12


Once Upon A Time In A Western

St George’s Theatre & Plaza, Great Yarmouth, September 18, 7.30pm (cook-up from 5.30pm), £6, £4 under-16s, £15 family, 01493 331484,

Tumbleweed rolls across the dusty stage, the saloon door opens with a drawn-out creak, the Dutch piano player pauses and looks up as a short stranger enters the bar. An action packed comedy where idiocy is an art form from the acclaimed company Le Navet Bete. Four fools tell the story of hundreds of characters with live music, ridiculous line dancing and slapstick in a hilarious parody of the western film genre. This Out There Festival event features ‘Cook-Up’ with a programme of street entertainment, barbecue (included in ticket price) and the world’s smallest venue in Folk in A Box.


Wonderful Wildlife

Assembly House, Norwich, until November 1, Tues-Sat 9am-5pm, free admission,

Autumn exhibition celebrating Norfolk’s wonderful countryside featuring work by talented artists including Pam Grimmond, Sarah Bays, Brin Edwards, Robert Greenhalf, Lindsay Beaton, John Paige, David Hunt and Chris Mound. There will be a wide range of media on display, from lino-cuts and etchings to paintings and screen prints. In addition to original works ranging from £50 to £2,000, limited edition prints and cards will also be on sale. Curator Lottie Day said: “We want to celebrate the joys of the great outdoors and all of the beautiful plants and creatures that inhabit our countryside.”

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