Cromer Pier Show celebrates its 40th anniversary with variety spectacular

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Cromer's summer spectacular is the only end of a pier variety show. This year it is celebrating its 40th anniversary and here's what to expect as the curtain goes up this weekend.

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Cromer's Pavilion Theatre is now the only theatre at the end of a pier that produces an in-house show every summer and winter season.

It is a glorious old British seaside tradition that once took place at resorts up and down the country. Now the Cromer Pier Show is one of the few true live variety shows remaining, which is both sad that more have not survived, but lucky as this tradition is still alive on our own doorstep.

And this year is extra special as the summer show celebrates its landmark 40th anniversary again showcasing live family variety acts at their best.

Popular headline comedian Phil Butler, vocalist Emily Yarrow and Australia's favourite comedy juggler James Bustar return this summer.


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A hugely talented and versatile comedian and performer, Phil is a firm favourite at the theatre having previously appeared in 1998 and 1999. Returning for his second season, James Bustar was a big hit last year performing his amazing skills including his death defying axe juggling routine and crowd favourite, his humorous bowling ball juggle.

Female lead vocalist Emily Yarrow returns for her second summer season. And, while male lead vocalist Lee Bright is making his first appearance in the Cromer Pier, he is no stranger to Norfolk having appeared in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

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They will be joined by Cromer debutant funnyman Joey Howard, whose one-man show includes comedy sketches, musical routines and impressions, the sensational Seaside Special Dancers, displaying their talents in all forms of dance from tap to ballet, and the children from Marlene's School Of Dance.

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

It's an eclectic blend of music, speciality acts and humour, with colourful costumes, dancers, stunning sets and lights, in the intimate seaside setting of a 500 seat theatre.

The fact that many of the performers return is a testament to the special atmosphere that the shows generate. There is something truly magical about strolling to the end of the pier of a summer's night to enjoy a night of entertainment for all the family.

Di Cooke, who returns for another year as director and choreographer, said: 'It will be part celebration of 40 years of what is now the only 'End-of-the-Pier' summer variety show in the world and as such will give audiences an all-round variety show experience.

'Our shows provide an eclectic blend of great pop music, breathtaking West End ballads, speciality acts and humour from top comedians.'

The show has become recognised nationally as something of an incubator for future talent with many of today's stars having trod the boards of the famous Pavilion Theatre.

Former stand-outs from summer show bills of previous years include Bradley Walsh, 2013 Britain's Got Talent finalist ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, and 2014 BGT finalist comedy impressionist Danny Posthill.

'In the past we've had many now familiar names developing their careers here, including Bradley Walsh and Steve Hewlett,' said Di. 'We are an incubator for true, quality talent for dancers, singers, actors, magicians, comedians and other variety acts so, by coming to one of our shows, you could be seeing the stars of the future.'

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

As in previous years, the show is in fact three separate shows to enjoy throughout this summer. Show 1, which opens this weekend, features the same cast but is totally different to Show 2, which runs from July 8-September 6, so you can actually see two different shows in the same week as they change every Thursday until mid-September.

They are followed by the Best of show which runs from September 12-23 featuring the audience favourite moments from both shows.

The show is used to recording-breaking years, and, if advance bookings are anything to go by, this 40th anniversary year will see a high demand for tickets.

• Cromer Pier Show, Pavilion Theatre, Cromer, June 24-September 9, 8pm most days, £22.50-£12 (£1 off cons), £10 under-16s, family discounts, 01263 512495, www.cromerpier.co.ukCromer Pier Show — 10 Facts

• Production values are extremely high. An intelligent light that can change colour, move and show up different shapes costs over £14,000.

• Cromer Pier Show typically includes over 150 costumes, 48 pairs of shoes, 40 pairs of tights, 33 hats, 31 fascinators - a small headpiece - and 24 petticoats, all made by just two people!

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

• The record for the quickest costume change took just 17 seconds.

• Over 100kgs of glitter and 220 metres of LED lighting on stage sets.

• The dance routines include 1,104 taps in a tap routine, 116 kicks in show numbers, 52 dance lifts, 48 pairs of false eyelashes used throughout the season.

• The show is now recognised nationally as an 'incubator' for talent with many of today's stars having trod the boards of the famous Pavilion Theatre, including Bradley Walsh, 2013 Britain's Got Talent finalist ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, and 2014 BGT finalist comedy impressionist Danny Posthill.

• Comedian Phil Butler, who returns as top of the bill for a second year, entertained the British forces at home and abroad, and was the first comedian to perform on the front line in Afghanistan and received the Operational Service Medal for his services.

• Comedian Joey Howard, who is making his first appearance at the Pavilion Theatre, began his show business career in the 70s as a drummer and recorded with Badfinger who were signed to the Beatles' Apple label.

• While male lead vocalist Lee Bright is making his first appearance in the Cromer Pier, he is no stranger to north Norfolk having appeared in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly

Launch of the Cromer Pier Show 2017. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

• Female lead vocalist Emily Yarrow, who makes a welcome return for a second summer season, studied at the University of Surrey, Roehampton, achieving a first class honours degree in Music & Performance.

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