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By RICHARD BATSON
Sunday, December 2, 2012
It’s easy to overdose on Christmas as the music and partying begins to gain relentless momentum.
Cromer’s festive end-of-the-pier offering has a generous portion of traditional songs, tinsel and decorated trees - along with some tap-dancing snowmen.
But it avoids being a full-on figgy pudding of seasonal sickliness by adding in comedy, singing and magic that would not be out of place in a variety show at any time of year,
So as well as winter wonderlands and seasons to be jolly there is a superb London-based medley which included a Clash song, and a Monty Python singalong finale of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life with white-winged angels.
A bit like a migrating bird, Olly Day flies in for his regular seasonal visit to the north Norfolk coast - and once again showcases his all-rounder skills as a comedian, compere, magician and singer, all delivered with wit and warmth.
His diminutive sidekick is Jo Little, the self-proclaimed Yorkshire Queen of Comedy, whose material is a mix of women’s problems, and slightly near-the-knuckle cabaret club stand-up - but who also has a fine singing voice.
The two main singers are also strong - as individuals and with their duet harmonies. Lulu Alexandra combines a versatile voice with slick dancing and even displays her British icedancing champion skills briefly on roller blades, while local boy Eddie Bushell’s rich tones were particularly impressive in Michael Buble’s Grown up Christmas list.
Other treats under the show’s branches are a fantasy ballet, Mary Poppins sweeps dance, some festive elves, and a Jesus Christ Superstar musical medley.
Some of the linking sketches were funnier than others, and the entendres more treble than double, which might see youngsters asking daddy for some embarrassing explanations. But overall this is a show which has something for most people, even those who like me are not a huge fan of festive hype and cheese.
That is down to the creativity of deviser Di Cooke, whose long association with the summer and winter shows sees her seeking to achieve the Norfolk goal of “dewin diffrunt”, in liaison with musical maestro Nigel Hogg.
As ever it is given extra richness by the stylish scenery of Ian Westbrook and sparkling costumes of Laura Whyte.
To reveal the show’s opening would spoil the surprise - but it kicks off the evening with a real wow factor, with no-one on stage.
The show runs until December 30.