Cromer pier show preview

Richard Batson A ray of summer show sunshine sparkled through the streets of Cromer as the town got its first glimpse of its popular Seaside Special.

Richard Batson

A ray of summer show sunshine sparkled through the streets of Cromer yesterday as the town got its first glimpse of its popular Seaside Special.

It literally stopped the traffic as the cast walked back through the streets to their Pier Pavilion venue in costume after staging a 15-minute show sampler in the parish hall.

The taster is due to take to the road, visiting towns and shopping centres, to showcase the unique end-of-the-pier variety show.

And the full Cromer show may even move down the coast to Felixstowe for a week at the end of the season, if there is enough demand in a new venture.

Yesterday's appetiser, watched by an audience who walked in off the street, mixed a glitzy Broadway opening number, with songs from West Side Story, some gipsy violin music, comedy and cheeky patter.

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And all of that was done after just three days rehearsal by a cast, who have until the June 21 opening to perfect the full show.

Headlining comic Peter Piper, returning after a successful debut last year, said the Cromer show combined traditional entertainment “like it used to be” with modern music to appeal to all generations.

He is joined by Scottish comedian Johnny Mac, who said he had been keen to come to Cromer after hearing of its reputation as a celebration of variety, which was “like Britain's Got Talent without the sob stories”.

The two versatile singers are Laura Grace, a keen surfer looking forward to enjoying her hobby in the shadow of the pier, and Georg Tormann, whose father has a house at Southwold.

Bulgarian violinist Teodora Ilieva, is tackling her first variety show, but also has singing and dancing as extra strings to her bow. And a six-strong troupe of dancers will switch from ballet and tap to big production and pop routines.

Show director Di Cooke said: “We're really going to let rip this year. Everybody thinks variety is old fashioned. But this is 21st century. There will be glitz, classical ballet, Fred Astaire and Robbie Williams.”

Rory Holburn, creative director for pier manager Openwide Inter-national, which also runs venues at Felixstowe and Bournemouth, said there were thoughts of moving the Cromer show to Suffolk, at a cost of £10,000, after its Norfolk run ended in September, if there was enough interest in tickets and the figures stacked up.

He added that the strength of the Cromer show as “an institution” meant it was suffering less than other parts of the entertainment industry as people tightened their belts with the state of the economy.

The company had also just been chosen to help design and run a new theatre and housing regener-ation project of the former Regis Centre at Bognor Regis.

Seaside Special tickets and information from the box office on 01263 512495. For more information visit www.EDP24.co.uk/dailylinks.