Family shows not to miss this Easter

Pirates Live! returns to the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth

Pirates Live! returns to the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Archant

Fairytales, circus skills, skulduggery amid the pirates, and a bear behaving badly, there is lots of family magic to be found on stage this Easter. SIMON PARKIN highlights shows for all to enjoy.

Pirates Live!

Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, March 25-April 17 (not April 11-15), various times, £20.50-£15 (£16-£15 cons), £11-£10 children, discounts for families, 01493 844172, www.hippodromecircus.co.uk

A smash hit runs the past two Easter holidays, Pirates Live readies to set sail again with a brand new production, where a new foe has invaded the port of Great Yarmouth. Captain Blackheart played by James Franklin and his band of villainous pirates have their sights set on the town as it is believed to hold the ultimate prize of the Fountain of Youth. Tasked with the job of protecting the town are the unlikely team of Captain Jack Hawkeye played by Jack Jay and of course Pirate Johnny played by Johnny Mack, the pair must put their previous history of battle behind them to overcome this new more powerful enemy. The swashbuckling, hugely talented international cast includes breathtaking fire breathers, mermaid aerialists, and gracefully strong hand balancers and African pirate acrobats.

Foolhardy Easter Circus

Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, March 25-April 10, 12pm/2pm, £5, 01603 783911, wroxhambarns.co.uk

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The Foolhardy clowns have been plying their trade for 29 years and we are known for our robust knockabout style which features mouth watering comic timing, circus skills, clown skits both new and old, presented in a cartonesque landscape. There latest surreal Easter show, Smile, which sees them return to Wroxham Barns, is sure to offer hilarity, specialist circus skills and fun for all ages. Well known and loved clown Cosmo will be overseeing the proceedings, with his son Lucas Hardy, along with his accordion playing partner in crime Wilson. Special guests from the world of circus include Imogen, the UK's only female Chinese Pole artist, Su LaLa on the Trapeze Bar and aerial silks plus our favourite Diaboloist Ediotic returns to wow the audience with his crazy tricks!

Goldilocks & The Three Bears

The Atrium, North Walsham, March 26, 11am/2pm, £5, £4 children, 01692 400080, www.artsnorthnorfolk.org

Goldilocks, on a trip into the forest, ventures into a seemingly uninhabited house. In the process of making herself feel at home, she turns the place into a gigantic mess! Little does she know that the house belongs to a family of three bears, who will not be too pleased to witness her handiwork. With music and lyrics by the famed award-winning West-End musical theatre song writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (whose credits include Mary Poppins), this North Walsham production is directed by local talent Joseph Ballard and will feature some familiar faces on stages for what promises to be a special Easter family show.

Le Guarattelle di Pulcinella

Norwich Puppet Theatre, March 26-28, 11am/2.30pm, £8, £28 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

To coincide with Norwich Puppet Theatre's Punch and Judy celebration (see Easter indoor picks), award winning Italian puppeteer Luca Ronga performs a skilful, entertaining Guarattelle glove puppet show for children and adults. Pulcinella is the Italian version of Mr Punch and Guarattelle is the art of Neapolitan glove puppetry. Our traditional Punch and Judy shows have their roots in this Italian commedia dell'arte theatre, which dates back to the 16th-century. A funny slapstick show with visual comedy. Ages 5+

Bear Behaving Badly

Norwich Theatre Royal, March 28, 1.30pm, £14-£7, £46 family, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

It has proved popular with youngsters for almost a decade. The story of TV favourite Barney Harwood's puppet friend Bear Behaving Badly is a must-watch for lots of youngsters. Now the story of Barney and his mate Neville are getting a new lease of life in a stage show.As usual, the curmudgeonly Mr Prank will be aiming to stay grumpy while keeping one step ahead of Neville's fun, and failing. The show is described as Bear Behaving Badly with a pantomime-style spin, but also has a message about eating healthily.

Continental Circus Berlin

Norfolk Showground, March 28-April 10, various times, tickets from £7, booking via www.circusberlin.co.uk/locations/norwich/

From the producers of the some of the world's finest circuses, this brand new show is an amalgamation of brilliant acts, music and real youthful energy, incorporating fantastic performers from all over the world performing feats and skills to amaze. Housed in a heated, theatre-style Big Top, the production will be brimming with an international cast of breathtaking artistes, packed full of comedy, juggling, balancing, acrobatics & aerial acts – even the latest sensation the Laser Man. The live band provide backing of good time pop and rock hits from the past four decades.

Kite

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, March 29-30, 11am/2pm, £7, £5 under-26s, 01473 295900, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

Inspired by the world of indoor-kite flying and stories such as The Snowman and The Red Balloon, Kite is a play without words, with originally composed music, dance, puppetry and, of course, kites. A lonely girl, recently orphaned, is taken to live in her grandma's airless flat where the windows are shut tight. Her memories of seagulls, sand dunes and her mother begin to fade in the silence. One night a handmade kite comes to life and heralds the start of a wild adventure. From acclaimed theatre company The Wrong Crowd, creators of inventive shows including Swanhunter, Hag, The Girl with the Iron Claws. Ages 7+

George and the Dragon/Old Mother Hubbard

Norwich Puppet Theatre, April 1, 11am, 3.15pm/April 2, 11am, 2.30pm, both £8, £28 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

Two Easter productions at Norwich Puppet Theatre. Garlic Theatre's George and the Dragon is a delicious mix of wit, humour and inventiveness to celebrate one of the most famous medieval legends; with live performance, rod and glove puppetry, masks and music. Meanwhile Old Mother Hubbard clatters about her kitchen hanging out the washing and making breakfast with her dancing dog Oscar at her side. Their little world of friendship and harmony is interrupted by the squeaking of a little mouse in the cupboard and the fleeting appearance of a mysterious furry paw. Glove puppets, music and enchanting storytelling combine in this interactive slapstick comedy. Ages 4+/3+

Rapunzel

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, April 1, 2.30pm, £14, £10 children, 01263 512495, www.cromer-pier.com

This family musical version of the fairytale comes from the Emmy Award-winning team behind TV show Friends. Immersion Theatre gives a UK Premiere of this witty, tongue-in-cheek retelling of a perennial favourite which gives us a possessive mother who happens to be a witch, a tentative young man who happens to be a prince and a strong-willed but naïve young girl with the longest hair you're ever likely to come across! Forced to live alone with nothing but her hair and her witch (literally) of a mother, Rapunzel dreams of seeing the outside world when a young prince and his trusty valet come across her tower.

Alice in Wonderland

Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, April 2, 5.30pm/April 3, 12.30pm, 5.30pm, £12.50, £10.50 children, £30 family, 01485 532252, www.princesshunstanton.co.uk

Head down the rabbit hole this Easter, as Alice meets the weird but wonderful Mad Hatter and his hilarious friends on an unforgettable journey through Wonderland. With an all-star cast, spectacular scenery, dazzling costumes and plenty of audience participation, this production of Alice in Wonderland is sure to be the perfect treat for the whole family.

Rumpelstiltskin

Watlington Village Hall, Church Road, Watlington, April 5, 2.30pm, £4, £3 children adv/£5, £4 children on door, £12 family adv/£16 door, 01553 810732, www.creativeartseast.co.uk

A fairytale favourite spun before your very eyes. Auntie spins as hard as she can to make the wool for the King's special jumper. But the royals are out of cash, the girl who is helping is useless at spinning and the Prince just wants to be a shepherd. Everyone gets their threads in a twist and then Rumpel... you-know-who steps in. A woolly wonderland of a show with spinning, weaving, lively puppetry, music and storytelling, directed by Bob Percy, of Norwich Puppet Theatre's Pied Piper.

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