PHOTO GALLERY: Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster variety show gives festival a flying start

The third Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster festival scuttled into top gear on Friday evening as a fabulous show gave it a flying start.

A large crowd visited Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre for the show, which featured a pot pourri of acts in the noble tradition of a British variety show.

In a resounding demonstration that Cromer and Sheringham have got talent, the audience was treated to comedy, opera, sea shanties, magic, ballet and slapstick - all for free.

The disparate pieces of the pier puzzle were held together by the entertainer Olly Day, whose easy manner and laconic Norfolk humour went down very well with the crowd.

Day, a veteran of numerous pier shows, knew just how far to go with his jokes, to ensure that the event remained family friendly.

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He was helped by an unlikely sidekick at the start of the event, when festival president Hilary Thompson showed what a good sport she is by jousting verbally with Day as they introduced the programme of events.

Among the other highlights of an evening rich in feelgood fun was a spot by Sheringham town crier Tony Nelson, who was on stage with Cromer town crier Jason Bell, who looked suspiciously like a silver dummy wearing a uniform.

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There were also two sets from north Norfolk magician Roy Davenport, who dazzled with his tricks - and his smile.

Fifteen-year-old Broadland High School pupil Maria Willis reduced the audience to admiring silence then a handsome ovation as she sang three songs with precision and crystal clarity.

There was also a delightful ballet spot from the girls from Marlene's School of Dance.

And - in keeping with the seaside theme of the festival - each half was brought to a close by shanty singers the Castaways.

It was a fitting launch for an event that has quickly become a fixture in the north Norfolk calendar.

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