Giant prehistoric creatures invaded the streets of Norwich in a spectacular opening show for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival last night.

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Huge fantastical beasts moved through the crowds while prehistoric birds flew overhead in what was the UK premiere of the show Invasion.

The performance, which started in Gentleman’s Walk and moved around the market square before culminating in a performance at The Forum, was brought to Norwich by Dutch street theatre company Close Act, a group which has performed all over the world since it was founded in 1991.

Thousands of spectators packed the centre of Norwich for the 45-minute spectacle, becoming part of the performance themselves as puppeteers marched among them operating the fibreglass models.

The invasion began with giant insects flying high over the heads of the crowd, swooping close to the people perched on every available viewing point. Led by a 12ft witch on stilts, they made their way to The Forum, to be joined by a fantastical array of eyeball-headed robots, screeching dinosaurs and face-painted drummers.

Tonny Aerts, Close Act’s artistic director, said the crowd was an essential part of the performance.

“The great thing about this large outdoor theatre performance is that it is not on a stage, and that makes it more interactive.

“We play inside an audience. The audience always react differently depending on which country we are performing in and that makes it more interesting as an actor because you get direct feedback.

“It is not a nice show to watch from a distance. You – as the audience member – are part of the performance.”

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until May 26 and is bringing 16 days of art, theatre, music and more to the city.

Among the festival events this weekend is a garden party packed full of entertainment today and tomorrow at Chapelfield Gardens and Millennium Plain.

To see a gallery of pictures from Invasion, follow the link at the top right of this story.

12 comments

  • So, would it have been better for May Gurney not to have become involved and for the event not to have gone ahead? I didn't say you were ignorant, Albert, I said your comment was made from a position of ignorance - meaning that you did not attend, nor understand who paid for the event, but still felt that you were in a position to pontificate.

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    MAZMINGUS

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Maz@ Is this an inquistion?..the biggest fool can ask more than the wisest man can answer ! just accept Free Speech !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • To Albert - As I wrote in my first comment, if you had been there you would have heard the announcer thanking the event sponsor at the end of the night. So were you there? And why do you think it would have been better if the event had not gone ahead?

    Report this comment

    MAZMINGUS

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Actually, Albert, if you had been there you would have heard that the event was sponsored by May Gurney. More to the point, thousands of people were there, enjoying a real spectacle. It's so easy to criticise from a position of ignorance - perhaps you should reserve judgement on these matters until you have witnessed for yourself. I have a vague memory of you criticising the sax massive last year too - which brought together young musicians from all over the county with a world class jazz leader. Perhaps they should have stayed in front of their computers like you!

    Report this comment

    MAZMINGUS

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Max@ YES !!and I dont sit in front of the computer,or didnt you imply this as well as being ignorant..and how do you sumise that I didnt attend ?

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • If you want to see what can only be described as a total waste of time,energy,space and heaven forbid,money,just take a look at what they call art that is in the Westlegate Tower.It defies description.

    Report this comment

    Trevor Sadd

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • I just wonder who pays for all of this ? somebody does,and I suspect the taxpayer !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • @albert - your probably right. But is it really important? 2-3 thousand adults and kids had a great time last night, and almost every restaurant in the city was packed too, I would imagine the cost is dwarfed by the money that was spent last night on food and beer alown :)

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • maxmingus@ I am neither ignorant nor do I stay in front of my computer,I just have a point of view.May Gurney has sponsered the event ! well then its either tax deductable,or taked from contracts,either way its all paid indirectly by the pubilc !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • But "Max" yopu ask questions all the time !You disagree with me and I with you ,so lets leave it there ! but I ask is your Non de plume associated with Charlie Mingus the Jazz Bass player ?

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Charly Mingus a great Jazz Bassist !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

  • Albert, if you write a comment in a public forum and someone disagrees with you, then this is also free speech! You asked who paid for the event and I answered. You also said that it would have been better for the event not to go ahead, and I asked why you had this view. If you can't back up what you say, why bother in the first place?

    Report this comment

    MAZMINGUS

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

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