Feast of treats at the Holt Festival

Curious Directive

Curious Directive - Credit: Archant

Holt Festival returns from Saturday to July 27 with another packed programme of music, theatre, cabaret, comedy and much more. SIMON PARKIN highlights 10 things to make sure you don't miss (and a few more because he couldn't make up his mind).

Festival feat pix 17/7/14

Festival feat pix 17/7/14 - Credit: Archant

n The Bloody Ballad

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 21, 7pm, £16 (£5 cons)

Gagglebabble theatre company's rocking-rolling-chills-n-spills-blood-curdling journey of murder and mayhem. Mary is a girl with a dark past. She fell in love, got betrayed, killed two men, gets taken hostage, then fell in love all over again. Grimms meets Tarantino in this brutal love story set around Memorial Day celebrations in 1950's America. Featuring original live blues, rockabilly and Americana from the show's band The Missing Fingers. Part gig, part slasher movie, part road movie, part murder ballad, it is music theatre like never before.

n Meow Meow

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 22, 9.30pm, £25 (£5 cons)

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International cabaret showgirl Meow Meow descends upon Holt Festival following her critically acclaimed shows in the West End, at the South Bank Centre and Sydney Opera House. From Brecht, to Radiohead, to original gems, be mesmerised by her hypnotic voice and slightly terrified by her boundless (and boundary-less) talent. Expect sexiness, sequins, satire and possibly even the splits.

n Melanie Pappenheim, Sophie Harris & Ian Belton

St Andrew's Church, Holt, July 23, 6.30pm, £18 (£5 cons)

Three artists with diverse performing backgrounds - English soprano singer and composer Melanie Pappenheim, cellist Sophie Harris and violinist Ian Belton - with a programme of works written by some of today's most eminent composers including the UK premiere of An Eagle Darkens The Sky, written by remarkable pianist and composer Rolf Hind. To mark the premiere, Rolf will also be playing the piece.

n Joe Stilgoe

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 23, 8.30pm, £25 (£5 cons)

Charismatic singer/pianist Joe Stilgoe, with a fine line in quirky, original material, has created a name for himself on the live circuit. Following two critically acclaimed albums, Joe recently released his live album Songs On Film recorded over two sell-out shows at the London Jazz Festival 2013. He has been compared with Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble and Jamie Cullum.

n Stand-Up Night

The Feathers Hotel, Holt, July 24, 9pm, £16 (£5 cons)

A night of upcoming comic talent. Only 21, Iain Striling has alreday been dubbed one of Scotland's hottest newcomers. Vikki Stone is a multi-talented comedian, actress, singer and musician and the winner of The Soho Theatre One Night Stand-Up Award. Somalian born comedian, actor and writer Prince Abdi has become a regular on the UK comedy circuit. MC for the night is John Hastings, winner of the Montreal Comedy Festival's Home-Grown comedy competition.

n Lucy Hopkins – Le Foulard (Art Show)

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 24, 9.30pm, £14 (£5 cons)

A captivating performer, a simple prop, and a song or two. Performer Lucy Hopkins devised her one-woman show using that basic formula, and the result is theatre at its most inspired, and inspiring. Starring a medley of characters, overwhelmed by a love of a show-stopping song and performed using only a scarf.

n White Rabbit, Red Rabbit

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 25, 6.30pm, £35 (includes drink reception at 5.45pm)

With no rehearsal, no director, a script waiting in a sealed envelope on stage and a different actor every time it's performed, this internationally acclaimed piece by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour, is an audacious theatrical experiment. This special festival staging has heavy-weight acting taken too, being performed by now Norfolk-based actor John Hurt and introduced by Stephen Fry.

n Rich Hall's Hoedown

Theatre in the Woods, Holt, July 25, 9pm, £17 (£5 cons)

Rich Hall, the grouchy, deadpan, comic genius quit his job as a hurricane namer for the US Meteorological Service two decades ago and hasn't looked back. His Hoedown started las a drinkin' dancin' and comedy spectacular with various random guests, an onstage bar, and often an onstage audience. Join him and his virtuoso musical mates for a late-night mash-up. Tremendous fun.

n Sandi Toksvig

Theatre in the Woods, Holt, July 26, 4pm, £16 (£5 cons)

A favourite broadcaster on both TV and radio, Sandi is also a veteran of The Comedy Store, having performed there on its opening night. A prolific writer, last year she published a light-hearted book of women's history, Heroines & Harridans. Here she will be in conversation with Chris Gribble of Writers' Centre Norwich.

n Pioneer

Auden Theatre, Holt, July 26, 6pm, £16 (£5 cons)

A maverick Dutch space flight director, far from home, contemplates an error which will cost her everything. Pioneer is a life-affirming tale about mankind's desire to reach towards another planet. Using a breathtaking combination of video design, movement and staging, this out of this world show from Curious Directive takes the audience on a whirlwind journey through a deep sea simulation chamber, nightclubs, mission control and back to Norfolk.

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