Christmas special at Cromer Pier

RICHARD BATSON Cromer Pier, which has an unrivalled reputation for summer show fun, is about to lift the curtains on a Christmas version. The Seaside Special mix of comedy, songs and dance is given a festive flavour from December 16 to January 6.

RICHARD BATSON

Seaside variety threw away its kiss-me-quick hat and pulled on its Santa suit yesterday.

For Cromer Pier, which has an unrivalled reputation for summer show fun, is about to lift the curtains on a Christmas version.

The Seaside Special mix of comedy, song and dance is given a festive flavour on a stage festooned with tinsel and trimmings.


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A series of colourful routines and sketches will be triggered as presents under the tree are unwrapped.

The cast broke off from rehearsals to give a glimpse of the action at a preview yesterday.

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Director Julia Ochyra said the aim was to take the essence of the summer show - namely its blend of variety - and give it a Christmas slant.

Tickets were selling well and it was hoped to make it a regular event if it won public support, she added. With pantomimes increasingly relying on TV-linked soap stars, there were still good all-rounder artists available to appear in variety shows.

Comedian Tim Pope tops the bill with his brand of patter, alongside multi-instrumentalist Dick Van Winkle, who will be enjoying a festive family break as his mother-in-law lives at Taverham, near Norwich.

But for one of the singers, it is an even shorter commute to work, as Eddie Bushell is a "local boy made good".

The former Cromer High School pupil, who cut his teeth in "am dram" shows, did a string of office and warehouse jobs before turning pro as a Mundseley holiday camp entertainer. After a summer as a show singer in the Algarve, he is back home for Christmas.

And being a big fan of the Cromer summer show, he is confident the recipe will transfer well to winter.

"It will work, for all the reasons the summer show is a success," said the 25-year-old.

For dancer Kate Morris, Christmas on the end of the pier will be a bit more of a shock to the system - as she is used to spending it by the pool, in 30 degrees of sunshine in her native Australia.

"I am feeling the cold a bit, and because we don't gather around the fire very much to sing carols at home, I am having to learn the words a bit more than the others," she added.

The two headliners are joined by four singers and four dancers, along with children from the local Dance Exchange school and half a dozen singers from the Broadland Youth Choir.

Christmas Seaside Special opens on Friday December 16 and runs until January 6. For information and tickets contact the box office on 01263 512495 or visit the website www.thecromerpier.com

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