15 family shows not to miss this Easter holiday

Pirates Live, The Jungle Book, Guess How Much I Love You and Horrible Histories.

Pirates Live, The Jungle Book, Guess How Much I Love You and Horrible Histories. - Credit: Submitted

Easter school holidays are almost here and there are plenty of shows for all the family — from pantos to fairytales, circus to pirates and some really explosive experiments. Simon Parkin highlights 15 family shows not to miss in Norfolk and beyond.

Sourpuss, Brainiac Live, I Believe in Unicorns and Ingo’s War

Sourpuss, Brainiac Live, I Believe in Unicorns and Ingo’s War - Credit: Submitted

Guess How Much I Love You

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, March 27, 1.30pm and 4.30pm/March 28, 10.30am and 4.30pm, £15 (£13 cons), 01502 533200, marinatheatre.co.uk

Little & Big Nutbrown Hare, from the bestselling books Guess How Much I Love You and I Love You All Year Round, leap off the page and onto the stage in this magical journey through the seasons. Brought to life by Selladoor Family, the producers behind James and the Giant Peach, Seussical and The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, the playful story of love and nature unfolds on stage through puppets, live music and interactive play. Ages 3+

Pirates Live!

Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, March 29-April 22, various dates/times, £21.50-£16 (£18-£16 cons), £12.50-£10, discounts for families, 01493 844172, hippodromecircus.co.uk

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Ahoy maties! Do you have what it takes to be a Pirate? The Hippodrome's all-action Easter blockbuster show returns with a new production for 2018 bringing together a motley crew of pirates, fire eaters, acrobats, aerialists and hilarious comedy. Popular duo Jack Jay and comedian Johnny Mac return as Captain Jack Hawkseye and pirate Johnny. All the swashbuckling skullduggery takes place in a movie style set: a 40ft galleon made by 3D creations that made parts of the set for Pirates of the Caribbean. If you feel like dressing as a pirate you can take a family selfie at the end of the show.

I Believe in Unicorns

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, March 29, 1.30pm and 4.30pm/March 30, 11.30am and 1.30pm, £12.50-£10.50, 01284 769505, theatreroyal.org

Olivier Award nominated Wizard Presents bring bestselling children's author Michael Morpurgo's treasured story to life in an enchanting and interactive production that won an Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence at Brighton Festival. Set in a library full of books that hold more than stories within their pages, it is a tale of the power of books, and the bravery of a young boy called Tomas who hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library. Take along your favourite book to form part of the set, and then to swap it at the end for another! Ages 6+

Ingo's War

The Garage, Chapel Field North, Norwich, April 5, 7.30pm, £10 (£8 cons), £30 family, 01603 598646, thegarage.org.uk

As war looms and the Blitz becomes a very immediate danger, a young girl and her nervous dog Ingo are evacuated to the country. But when Ingo is left on the train, he is suddenly plunged into an adventure which tips his steady world upside down. He experiences the many angles of wartime. He is lost and found and lost again, as Ingo discovers courage he never knew he had. Heart-warming tale from award-winning Ditto Theatre Company, told using their unique style, an amalgamation of storytelling, puppetry and movement, with an original score. Ages 5+

A Little Princess

Open, Bank Plain, Norwich, April 5-7, 7.30pm, 2.30pm April 6-7, £15, £10 under-18s, 01603 763111, opennorwich.org.uk

Written by Tony-nominated composer/lyricist, Andrew Lippa and Brian Crawley, this family-friendly musical gets an East Anglian premiere by Echo Youth Theatre. Based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it is the story of the power of a young girl's imagination to change the world around her. Separated from her father in Africa, young Sara Crewe is sent to boarding school in London. When things go badly for her, her imagination and story-telling help to transform a drab institution into a place of magic and mystery. This version expands the story beyond the confines of Victorian England to Africa and includes lively African music and dance and a unique score.

Bugsy Malone

Sheringham Little Theatre, April 6-14, 7.30pm, 2.30pm April 14, £10, £5 under-16s, 01263 822347, sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Sheringham Little Theatre Youth Group stage Alan Parker's evergreen cod-1930s gangster musical, performed entirely by kids. Set in prohibition New York, it tells the story of rival gang leaders Fat Sam And Dandy Dan in their fight for turf. Dandy Dan and his top of the range splurge guns are winning the war and a desperate Fat Sam calls on smooth talking ex-boxer Bugsy for help. As the custard pies start flying relationships are tested and allegiances are questioned. The songs by Paul Williams remain as fun as ever.

Three Billy Pigs

Norwich Puppet Theatre, April 7, 11am/2.30pm, £9, £9 children, £30 family, 01603 629921, puppettheatre.co.uk

Once upon a time there were three little pigs and now it is time for them to leave home! They set off to build their dream houses in the green field on the other side of the river. But then these homes are put to the test by a misunderstood wolf that has a little bit of a problem. And who is the grumpy person who lives under the bridge? Charming puppet production with music from Noisy Oyster, which was formed by Nik Palmer, the son of Ray and Joan DaSilva, founders of the Norwich Puppet Theatre and the DaSilva Puppets, and Sarah Rowland-Barker. Ages 3+

Horrible Histories

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, April 9, 2.30pm, £14.50, £11.50 children, £12 per person family of four, 01553 764864, kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! Luckily Horrible Histories are back with this special show featuring more of your favourite characters from our barmy past – and a brand new scene with wordy Will! Find out why the Romans were revolting! Could you survive the vicious Vikings? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England? Would you party with the Puritans? Clap along with crazy King Charles. Vomit with the vile Victorians and prepare to do battle in the frightful First World War.

The Jungle Book

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 10-14, 7pm, 2.30pm Mar 12/14, £23-£10, 01603 630000, theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Colourful new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's family classic from the Children's Touring Partnership and the team behind recent productions of Goodnight Mister Tom and Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild. Mowgli is the the man cub raised by wolves in the jungle. With the help of his animal friends, including Bagheera the panther, Baloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the cruel and powerful tiger, Shere Khan, and learns the law of the jungle. The musical adventure is adapted by the Olivier Award-winning Jessica Swale and features new songs and live music on stage created by Joe Stilgoe and is directed by Max Webster, who helmed The Lorax at the Old Vic. Ages 6+

The Jungle Book

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, April 10, 2.30pm, £14, £10 children, 01263 512495, cromerpier.co.uk

Another take on Rudyard Kipling's classic comes to Cromer for one Easter holiday performance. Following the success of Alice in Wonderland, Immersion Theatre brings their trademark energy to a larger-than-life new musical adaptation of the family favourite. Filled with catchy music, audience interaction, and the chance to meet the characters after the show, Mowgli and his friends, Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther feature in a madcap jungle adventure as they meet and attempt to outwit a slithering snake, some cheeky monkeys, and the fierce tiger, Shere Khan. Ages 4+

Brainiac Live!

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, April 11, 2pm, £14 (£12 cons), £48 family, 01502 533200, marinatheatre.co.uk

Strap on your safety goggles boys and girls, due to popular demand science's greatest and most volatile live show returns. Based on the multi-award winning TV show, expect more exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and loads of live daredevil stunts. Unless you're hoping your kids grow up to have a career in blowing stuff up and electrocuting people, it's probably worth stating that this isn't really an educational show – but even the most timid of school age kids will get a thrill from science in its most explosive form. Ages 5+

Beauty and the Beast

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, April 12, 2pm and 6pm, £21.50 (£19.50 cons), £19.50 children, £18.75 per person family of four, 01553 764864, kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

Panto isn't jst for Christmas as Hunstanton hosts this fun-filled Easter pantomime from the same team behind The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. Beauty longs for romance and adventure, a bad-mannered Prince who is transformed into a Beast to teach him a lesson and a good Fairy who makes both their dreams come true. Bobby Davro and Dani Harmer, aka CBBC's Tracey Beaker, who also appeared on last year's Strictly Come Dancing, head up the star cast, plus music, energetic dance routines as well as plenty of jokes, slapstick and heaps of audience participation.

Pop Divas

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, April 12, 2.30pm, £10, 01502 533200, marinatheatre.co.uk

The best songs from all your favourite female stars in one fun-packed show that is a perfect Easter treat for young pop fans. Little Mix will cast some Black Magic, Katy Perry will Roar and of course, Adele will be saying Hello as five enormously talented girls bring you up close and personal with the greatest pop performers of today. Meghan Trainor, Arianna Grande, Taylor Swift and Rihanna will all be dropping in to the biggest Pop Party ever too. With dazzling choreography, state of the art videos and live singers, it is suitable for all ages.


Norwich Puppet Theatre, April 13, 11am/2.30pm, £9, £9 children, £30 family, 01603 629921, puppettheatre.co.uk/Diss Corn Hall, April 14, 11am, £6, £4 children, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

Incorporating marionette puppetry, original music and stunning design, this delightful show from Lori Hopkins follows the grumpy main character, Sourpuss and what happens when he is shut out of the house. To begin with he feels lost and confused, but the beautiful garden soon intrigues him. Follow his journey of discovery and enjoy learning the secrets of the great outdoors. From buzzing bees to a chirpy robin, stinky rubbish and vibrant flowers this visual show is a feast for little eyes. In Diss there is a free creative workshop based on the show from 12.15pm. Ages 3+

The Wind in the Willows

Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, April 15, 3pm, £15, £13 children, £52 family, 01485 532252, princesshunstanton.co.uk

KD Productions, based at the Maltings Theatre in Ely, bring to life adventure along the riverbank with a brand new staging of Kenneth Grahame's family classic. Meet all your favourite characters including loyal Mole, faithful Ratty and wise old Badger as they do their best to keep the mischievous Mr Toad out of trouble. Will they be able to stop the Wicked Weasel from taking over Toad Hall? An exciting and playful take on the tale that features a professional cast, catchy new songs and lots of humour.

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