Cromer’s cracker of a Christmas show

Christmas Seaside Special

Cromer Pier

The wrappings are off Cromer's festive version of its renowned pier show - and the tinselly trinket inside is certainly no turkey.

There are cute children, choristers, Christmas cracker-style jokes and sing-along carols, and a nativity scene, with a modern twist.

But there is much more than that is this figgy-pudding rich mix delivered with the same pace and energy that is the hallmark of the summer show.

So as well as a moving version of Halleluiah, there is rock and roll and even a dash of hip hop.

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And the film-themed first half finale flickers from Laurel and Hardy and silent movies, to Star Wars and Jaws with slick cinematic speed.

Headlining the show for a second winter is popular Norfolk all-round entertainer Olly Day who has a mulled-wine warmth to his comedy, helped by his knowledge of local audiences, topical issues and dialect.

He is also an accomplished singer, who has a 'funny uncle' bond with the cast and audience. And the ventriloquist routine during his solo spot is grilliant.

The sprinkle of the spectacular in the show comes from magician Oliver Tabor. His cleverly-choreographed routine mesmerises and mystifies as he plucks musical notes, doves, glass balls and violins out of the air.

The vocal strength of the show is bolstered by the towering tenor Aston Dobson, and versatile Alice Redmond, who provided those audience members forgoing their Saturday Night X Factor fix with a demonstration of real singing talent, as well as rolling up their sleeves to get stuck into comic routines too.

The engine room of the show, whatever the season, are the dancers, and the six-strong troupe showcase their full range of skills from tap to ballet.

Opening night had the odd fumble and stumble that Strictly pedant Craig Revel Horwood would doubtless have spotted. But it is almost churlish to mention them in a show which, whatever the weather outside, is not just Christmassy sentimental slush but is a cracker of crisp and glistening live entertainment that make it worth abandoning the telly and fireside to see as a festive treat.

Richard Batson

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