Thursford Christmas Spectacular: Opening night review

PUBLISHED: 18:25 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 18:25 11 November 2013

The Thursford Christmas Show. Picture: Ian Burt

The Thursford Christmas Show. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Christmas is a magical time for most – and tucked away in a tiny north Norfolk village is a special show which makes it even more magical for thousands of people every year.

The Thursford Christmas Spectacular has become somewhat of a Norfolk, or British even, institution which sees coach-loads of people travel the length and breadth of the country every year.

Now in its 37th year, it has become what is thought to be the biggest Christmas show in Britain, if not Europe, and now boasts a cast of 130 and is put together over eight months on a budget of some £4m – it’s hard to believe it started life with just 10 choral singers in an old farm shed on a shoestring budget.

Having never been to the Christmas Spectacular before, I didn’t really know what to expect but to say you walk into a Christmas wonderland would not be an exaggeration.

From the moment you leave your car, you are transported into a world of festive cheer with giant Christmas trees, quaint shops and tearooms filled with Yuletide goodies and where dancing Santas and toy soldiers come to life.

The show starts off by getting you in the mood for Christmas with a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” before the festive bonanza starts off in earnest.

The stage then becomes awash with bold colours, glitz and glamour and scenes that would fit well in Broadway or the West End. The cast are first class and the entertainment gets better and better as the show goes on.

How founder and director John Cushing keeps the ideas coming and the standard so high year after year, I will never know.

He said at the beginning of the show that it would make me laugh, cry, smile and feel filled with joy – and he wasn’t wrong.

There were laugh-a-minute gags from Paul Adams which made me cry tears of laughter while Grant Goldie’s skilful tricks were mesmerising; the talented dancers can impressively turn their hands to ballet, modern and tap while the orchestra’s musicians can leap out of their chairs while playing their instruments.

It certainly has added a bit of magic to my Christmas this year and I’m sure it will do for the tens of thousands of spectacular-goers yet to see this year’s show. 
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular runs from November 9 until December 23 with two shows per day at 2pm and 7pm.Call the booking office on 01328 878477 or book online at

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