New season: King's Lynn Corn Exchange

In a season packed with eye-catching star names at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange, it takes something really special to jump out of the programme. And Dionne Warwick is just such a name.

In a season packed with eye-catching star names at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange, it takes something really special to jump out of the programme. And Dionne Warwick is just such a name.

The American superstar - playing a double-header of dates on September 6 and 7 - was chosen by Bacharach and David as the leading interpreter of their songs in the early Sixties.

And with Dionne going on to record stone-cold classics such as Walk On By, Do You Know the Way to San José? and You'll Never Get to Heaven, the boys were proved absolutely right. Dionne enjoyed a career resurgence in the 1980s with a brace of top ten hits, Heartbreaker and All the Love in the World, so you can expect evenings packed full of classics.

Staying with female singing stars, Joan Armatrading (September 22) is making a long-awaited return, almost 30 years after the ground-breaking debut hit Love and Affection, and in their first visit, Claire Martin, Mari Wilson and Barb Jungr will be donning silk and sequins to present Girl Talk (November 10) a concert taking you through Motown and that chap Bacharach again, plus jazz and blues tunes.


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The chaps aren't left out, though. Steve Harley brings his latest incarnation of Cockney Rebel to the Tuesday Market Place venue on October 27, touring with his first new album in nine years, The Quality of Mercy. The show promises a mix of new tracks and old favourites including the single Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) celebrating its 30th anniversary and, hopefully, his great crowd singalong Tumbling Down.

And six years after his first visit, Shakin' Stevens (December 7) makes a welcome return to the Corn Exchange. Hot on the heels of his greatest hits release, The Collection, join Shaky as he celebrates a career full of hits (and we mean 'full' - an amazing 33 top 40 entries). Further familiar faces include Paul Carrack - the voice behind Ace, Mike and the Mechanics and Squeeze's sublime Tempted - (October 26), Smokie (October 28), the Illegal Eagles (October 30), Irish favourites Foster and Allen (November 15), British rock and roll legends Joe Brown and Marty Wilde (November 25) and soul stars the Stylistics (November 30).

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There's more music with a guaranteed crowd-pleaser - Abba tribute maestros Bjorn Again (December 9).

A new production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess comes to the venue on September 9. The New York production features company of 14 singers and a 15-piece orchestra with a full-costume, two-hour concert version of this famous musical drama. Based on the DuBose Heyward novel, the story of Charleston's famed Catfish Row and its inhabitants features a jazz and blues influenced score and such memorable tracks as I Loves You Porgy, It Ain't Necessarily So and the sensational Summertime.

Moving away from concerts and over to comedy, recent sell-out performances by Lee Evans, Jim Davidson and Jimmy Carr prove West Norfolk audiences love nothing better than a good laugh.

So expect ticket demand to be brisk for “King of the jungle” Joe Pasquale (October 29) who has just confirmed a second show, and Al Murray - Pub Landlord (December 3). Additional names include Australian outlaw Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson (not, we hope, with a “we've won the Ashes” smile on his face, November 24), showbiz legend Ken Dodd (November 29 - and probably going into the early hours of the 30th!) and in a debut visit, the strictly adults-only Roy Chubby Brown (December 21).

Classical dance and music fans are not left out. There's ballet productions Swan Lake (October 22) and The Nutcracker (December 18 and 19) and opera's The Elixir of Love (September 23) and The Pearl Fishers (December 2). Following the success of two shows in 2003, English Touring Opera return with a specially prepared version of Mozart's The Magic Flute designed to entertain both adults and children - expect a magical story of heroes, villains, damsels in distress and fantastic music in The (Little) Magic Flute (November 11 and 12). And there's another appearance from the venue's orchestra-in-residence, the City Of London Sinfonia (December 10).

Television and radio stars also make appearances in King's Lynn this season. Derek Acorah (November 6 and 7) cult star of Most Haunted and The Antiques Ghost Show on Living TV brings his psychic ability to this region for the first time.

In the aftermath of this summer's Ashes series, join BBC Radio 4's Jonathan Agnew and ex-England captain Mike Gatting for an evening of cricket chat and stories from the commentary box in Sticky Wicket (October 21).

Television gardener, best-selling novelist and presenter of that excellent series A Picture of Britain, Alan Titchmarsh makes a return visit on November 14 with his show Fill My Stocking.

Productions with a festive theme include the ever-popular That'll Be the Day (December 12 and 13) with a brand new Christmas show, or Broadway's Spirit of Christmas (December 8) direct from the USA as an early Christmas present for 'the laydeez', The Chippendales (December 20).

For more details call the box office: 01553 764864

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