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

War Correspondents War Correspondents

Monday, June 9, 2014
10:55 AM

Composer Helen Chadwick and choreographer Steven Hoggett use the words of the journalists themselves to shed light on why they chose such a dangerous business in War Correspondents, Tim DeLaughter brings his robed and happy-clappy psych-pop group The Polyphonic Spree, comedy from Lee Nelson, OperaUpClose’s La Bohème and Billy Smart’s Circus. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.

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MUSIC

The Polyphonic Spree

Waterfront, King Street, Norwich, June 9, 7.30pm, £17.50, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

Texas self-described “choral symphonic rock” ensemble who generally consist of a 10-person choir, a pair of keyboardists, as well as a percussionist, drummer, bassist, guitarist, flautist, trumpeter, trombonist, harpist, French horn player, a pedal steel player, theremin player, and an electronic effects person, so it should be quite crowded on the Waterfront stage. Musical director Tim DeLaughter’s robed and happy-clappy psych-pop crew will be playing tracks from their latest album, Yes, It’s True. Expect pure, divine chaos onstage with their symphonic ditties. Support from Box of Light and MT.

COMEDY

Lee Nelson

Norwich Arts Centre, June 9, 7.30pm, £17.50, 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

He’s hosted Live at the Apollo, sold out his three times extended live tour Lee Nelson Live Tour, had over two million people watching BBC3’s Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show and here he returns to Norwich Arts Centre with a night of qwaliteeee jokes, games and banter. Comedian Simon Brodkin — the man who inhabits the moronic creation — was initially as part of Al Murray’s TV series Personality Disorder before bagging a TV series all to himself, showcasing Lee along with a few other of his comic characters, such as Jason Bent the prancing footballer, who are pretty funny too. Now that is well good, innit?

OPERA

La Bohème

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, June 10, 7.30pm, £25-£8.50, 01284 769505, www.theatreroyal.org

Think of opera and you are probably thinking of a well heeled crowd in their finery sitting in a lavish opera house having paid a fortune for a ticket. You’re probably not thinking of a rough pub in Kilburn. That is the origins of OperaUpClose’s La Bohème, which went from this unlikely start to being winner of an Olivier Award, arrives at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. It follows the ups and downs of idealistic students Rodolfo and Marcello and their girlfriends Mimi and Musetta, as they bicker, party, try to make ends meet and follow their dreams.

The comedy of the first half of this hugely popular production heightens its tragic ending, with audiences saying this 21st century version of La Bohème affected them like no other.

SHOW

Billy Smart’s Circus

Royal Norfolk Showground, June 10-15, Tues-Fri 4.45pm/7.30pm, Sat 2pm/4.45pm/7.30pm, Sun 12.30pm/3.30pm, £28-£12, £24-£10 children, www.billy-smarts-circus.co.uk

Billy Smart founded his circus in 1946 and it became a household name largely through its TV appearances, one BBC bank holiday show was watch by 21 million. This year’s show hosted by Yasmine Smart, granddaughter of the founder, includes Australian trapeze artists the Flying Aces, the 10-strong Russian Assadulin Troupe, Romanian acrobats Extreme Brothers, Italian clown, Jonny Bogino, plus the Argentinian bolas drumming of Gabriel Carmona and the foot-juggling skills of Germaine Delbosq from France.

THEATRE

War Correspondents

Norwich Arts Centre, June 11, 7.30pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

The second song theatre performance created by composer Helen Chadwick and choreographer Steven Hoggett, who won an Olivier award for Black Watch, uses the words of the journalists themselves to shed light on why they chose such a dangerous business. Helen and Miriam Nabarro, the show’s designer, spent six years interviewing war correspondents with experience of reporting in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere. Helen wrote 30 songs based mostly on the testimonies, some only a line long. Steven Hoggett then choreographed accompanying dances in a show performed by five actors who portray a group of people who, unlike the rest of us, know they are likely to be shot at when they go to work.

SHOW

On The Razzle

Sheringham Little Theatre, until June 14, 7.30pm, £10, 01263 822347, www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

In their 50th anniversary year, The Sheringham Players present this wonderful Tom Stoppard farce. Set in Vienna in the 1880s, when their boss goes off to dine with his fiancé, his clerks decide this may be their last chance for an adventure (razzle) and head for the Big City. Zangler must cancel his plans, as his niece has run off with her boyfriend. Naturally, soon everyone is running into everyone else. It’s a hilarious production of slapstick, shenanigans, mistaken identities, misdirected orders, malapropisms, double-entendres and romantic complications.

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