Cromer pier show opening night success despite musical director being in hospital

The Cromer Seaside Special cast at the show launch. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Cromer Seaside Special cast at the show launch. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

There was a 'show must go on' flavour to an opening night at Cromer Pier this weekend.

Pier show musical director Nigel Hogg. Photo: Bill Smith

Pier show musical director Nigel Hogg. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2008

The venue's unveiling of the second, alternating, show for the season was billed as Strictly Seaside, an 'unashamed review of all that is great about the Seaside and Variety.'

It was. But behind the scenes musical director Nigel Hogg was missing from his one-man orchestra pit.

A flare-up of gallstone problems saw him whisked into hospital on Thursday, just two days before curtain up Seaside Special's second opening night.

But not before, as the pain got worse during the week, he added his live keyboard work to the pre-recorded background sound so the show could go on.

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Rory Holburn, director of Openwide Coastal which runs the show, praised Nigel, and the rest of the cast, for their professionalism and commitment to ensure the production went ahead.

'Nigel was in extreme pain, and has an inflamed pancreas that needs seven days to calm down and another seven to recover. But we are so lucky to have an unflappable creator in Di Cooke and a strong team who were happy to do extra rehearsals.'

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Cromer-born crew member Michael Lodge stepped into Nigel's mixing desk, and singer David Jon O'Neill played keyboard for part of his Help song.

After the show cast and crew signed 'get well' cards to deliver to Mr Hogg at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Strictly show, unlike the more comedy and cabaret-focussed Variety Dotcom show one, is more traditional summer pier show, with sunshine songs and deckchair gags - though the humour flirts with bodily parts and functions more than some would like.

Headliner Dain Cordean combines comedy with magic, with Jo Little showcasing a fine singing voice as well as her madcap mirth. Danny Posthill adds more stand-up, but fewer impersonations than in the first show.

The dancers range from elegant waltz to hip wiggling Latino.

A movie finale was a tribute to former show creator Bob Marlowe - known for his lavish routines - who died last year. But the whole show was testimony to what a tight-knit team, on and off stage, can achieve when the seaside chips are down.

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