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

08:37 18 December 2014

Maddermarket Theatre's Christmas show The Borrowers. Pictured left to right Fionna Monk ( Arrietty ), Oskar Schmidt-Hansen ( the Boy ) and Liam Arnolds ( Spiller ).

Maddermarket Theatre's Christmas show The Borrowers. Pictured left to right Fionna Monk ( Arrietty ), Oskar Schmidt-Hansen ( the Boy ) and Liam Arnolds ( Spiller ).

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2014

An alternative to panto, the Maddermarket Theatre’s Christmas production is an adaptation of The Borrowers, there is a special festive Red Card Comedy night, Syd Lawrence Orchestra swing into the season with Mistletoe & Miller, there is a magical festive story inspired by Russian folktale and a production of Dickens’ Great Expectations in Holkham’s Marble Hall. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.

SHOW

The Borrowers

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, December 19-January 3, various times, £38-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

Following the success of their last two Christmas shows, The Snow Queen and The Railway Children, the Maddermarket Theatre’s Christmas production this year is an adaptation of The Borrowers, written by Mary Norton in 1952 and adapted for the stage by Charles Way. An adventurous, heart-warming Christmas treat, is the story of the “tiny” Clock family, who live beneath the floorboards of a large Victorian house and “borrow” from the big people above to survive. The one danger that lurks above our tiny family is being seen by the “human beans”, so when the boy staying in the house discovers their presence their lives change forever as they are forced to face the dangers of the giant outside world.

COMEDY

Red Card Comedy Club

Carrow Road, Norwich, December 22, 8.45pm, £12, 0844 8261902, www.redcardcomedyclub.com

A final show of 2014 at Red Card is sure to feature plenty of seasonal cheer including headlining East End geezer Jeff Innocent, who with regulation shaved head and no-nonsense Cockney bluff is a rapier-sharp comic who commands the room and has the audience bending to his every whim. In short, he’s one very funny man. Also Nick Wilty, who has performed on every continent except Antarctica, Paul McCaffrey, one of the most exciting new acts around, winning the Latitude Festival new act competition in his first years as a stand up. MC for the night is Australian comic Wayne Deakin.

FAMILY

Snow Child

The Forum, Norwich, December 20, 11.30am/2.30pm, £6, £20 family, 01603 621912, www.theforumnorwich.co.uk/The Bank, Castle Street, Eye, Suffolk, December 20, 6pm, £6, 01379 873495, www.thebankeye.org

A magical story from the frozen north from Chalk Circle Theatre Company for children ages 4+, inspired by a Russian folktale tells the story of Solver who tames the wild reindeer with ancient songs. Solver sets out on a quest to find the girl of his destiny and although he finds the girl tending fields of Snow Geese. What is it the Raven Woman wants? And why does Solver lose his song and who is in the forest dreaming of a snow child? Also at Swaffham Community Centre (Dec 21, 2.30pm); Old Church Hall, Trowse (Dec 23, 11.30am), Old Regal Cinema, Wymondham (Dec 23, 2.30pm). More details at facebook.com/chalkcircletheatrecompany

MUSIC

Mistletoe & Miller

St Andrews Hall, Norwich, December 20, 7.30pm, £18-£15, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

The Syd Lawrence Orchestra swing into the season of goodwill with Chris Dean and the ultimate festive Big Band concert, packed with the music of the legendary Glenn Miller along side yuletide favourites, bringing non-stop Christmas cheer. The band were recently voted the UK’s number one big band for the 10th consecutive year, so you’re in expect hands with this musical spectacular that will really put you ‘In The Mood’ for Christmas. An evening of nostalgic entertainment will feature a perfect mix of Big Band classics from the likes of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra and get you swinging in your seats. Classic arrangements of the swing era are combined with the fire and drive of some of today’s finest young jazz musicians.

SHOW

Father Christmas Needs a Wee!

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, December 22, 4.30pm, £12, £10 children, £38 family, 01284 758000, www.whatsonwestsuffolk.co.uk

At every house Father Christmas eats and drinks the tasty treats that have been left for him. But when he reaches number ten he realises that he’s forgotten to do something rather important and he really, really, really needs a wee! TaleGate Theatre hit the perfect combination of witty humour, fantastic music and the extra sparkle for which they have become known in this fabulously funny and brilliantly bouncy musical adaptation of Nicholas Allan’s much loved book.

THEATRE

Great Expectations

Holkham Hall, December 20-21, 7pm, £17.50-£13.50, £12.50-£8.50 children, 01328 713111, www.holkham.co.uk

Christmas theatre returns to impressive Marble Hall at Holkham, with Charles Dickens’s tale of destiny, desire and duplicity, staged by Rain or Shine Theatre Company in James Reynard’s new adaptation. The story tells of young orphan Pip whose expectations are shaped by a number of colourful and curious characters. His future is formed and fortune made by a mysterious benefactor. Could it be an escaped convict he meets on Christmas Eve, or perhaps Joe Gargery, the kindly blacksmith, Miss Haversham the eternal bride, or an uncompromising lawyer, Mr Jaggers? The perfect festive Victorian theatrical treat.

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