New season: Marina Theatre

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor Our second summer preview features one of East Anglia’s busiest venues – the Lowestoft Marina Theatre. And te pace isn’t about to slack off on the East coast.

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor

Lowestoft Marina Theatre has bounced back in recent years to establish itself as one of the region's leading venues.

Astute programming has brought many top-name stars to the venue as well as familiar touring favourites – a policy which has enabled the venue to book prestige attractions such as grand opera and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

And the new season promises more of that winning mix.

Just look at the next few days…

The season opens tonight, April 8 (8pm) with the visit of Elkie Brooks, who is celebrating an amazing 45 years in showbiz. Famed for such chart favourites as Pearl's A Singer, Lilac Wine and Sunshine After The Rain, Elkie will also be showcasing tracks from her new album. If you've heard her radio sessions promoting the tour, you'll know her unique voice is in as fine a fettle as ever. Tickets are £18.50, concs £17.50.

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Song-filled nostalgia show That'll Be The Day just never seems to stop touring. Packed with humour, costume changes and more chart hits than you can shake a Dansette stylus at, it'll be back at the venue this Sunday (7.30pm, £16.50, concs £15.50). The team will also be bringing their special summer version of the show on July 16 and August 20.

Tuesday brings the return of one of the best-loved singers on the country/easy-listening scene. Charlie Landsborough took decades to become an “overnight success” – but the acclaimed singer and songwriter has now secured

his place on the British entertainment scene (7.30pm, £17.50, concs £16.50).

Meanwhile, on Thursday (8pm, £16.50), there's the first chance to see The Christians in concert for several years. They will present

all their big hits, including Forgotten Town, Hooverville and, of course, their superb cover of the Isley Brothers' Harvest For The World.

Looking further ahead, there are plenty of star names in the offing. On April 17 chart-topper Tony Christie presents a concert full of his singalong Seventies hits, including Avenues and Alleyways, Maria, Las Vegas and, yes, that song! (£16.50, concs £15.50).

British entertainment institution Des O'Connor returns to Lowestoft on May 14 (£24.50-£20.50, concs £1 off), the resort where he performed his very first summer season almost 50 years ago. And he's still packing them in…

Talking of summer seasons, the Marina is reviving a summer season show in the resort for the first time in 23 years. Bernie Clifton will host Friday evening family variety shows from August 5-26.

Dennis Locorriere, the voice behind such classic Dr Hook tracks as Sylvia's Mother and A Little Bit More, visits the venue on June 12 (£16.50, concs £15.50), with another golden-voiced entertainer – Durham Town hit-maker Roger Whittaker – following six days later (£22.50-£18.50, concs £1 off).

The new season isn't short on spectacle either. Returning by huge popular demand, the Moscow City Ballet and orchestra will be back in Lowestoft from November 10-12 for two performances of The Sleeping Beauty and two of Swan Lake. Tickets £26.50-£12.50, concs £2 off.

Another prestigious visitor is the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which is presenting a series of concerts. A crowd-pleasing line-up of star soloists (Julian Lloyd Webber on April 22, Ingrid Jacoby on July 1 and Clio Gould on September 23) and programmes of popular classics from the likes of Elgar, Holst, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Mozart, Bach and Grieg are in store (£26.50-£18.50, concs available).

Still on the subject of music, there is more variety to come, including Brassed Off, starring the celebrated Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) Band (April 23, £18.50, concs £17.50); Red Hot Country (April 24, £12.50); funky tribute outfit Absolute Earth, Wind and Fire (May 1, £14.50); Irish favourites The Fureys and Davey Arthur (May 29, £14.50, concs £13.50); jazz and blues in Basin Street to Broadway (starring Keith Smith aka Mr Hefty Jazz) on June 3 (£16.50, £14.50, concs available); Stars in Their Eyes winner Gary Mullen with One Night Of Queen (June 5, £16.50, concs £15.50); Tino Gonzalez and the Electric Latin Blues Band (June 9, £16.50, concs £15.50) and Voice of the Heart, a tribute to The Carpenters (June 17, £13.50, concs £11.50).

And there's more: well-regarded East Anglian swing outfit the Jonathan Wyatt Big Band (July 17, £10.50, £8.50, concs £2 off); evergreen hitmakers The Drifters (July 24, £16); ABBA/ Bee Gees tribute show Thank You For The Music (July 31, £18.50-£16.50, concs £1 off); The Brotherhood of Man in Seventies nostalgia fest Denim Blues (August 7, £12.50, concs £8.50); hit show Forever in Blue Jeans (August 28, £13.50, concs £11.50); Moon River hitmaker Danny Williams in The Nat King Cole Story (September 4, £14.50 and £12.50, concs £2 off) and The Meatloaf Story (September 24, £16.50, concs £15.50).

Stars in Their Eyes – Live on June 19 promises a fun evening, featuring contestants from the hit television show. And, of course, you will be voting for the winner. Tickets £16.50, concs £15.50. A fun evening is also in store with Disco Crazee (June 21-25, £14.50-£7.50) a new hit-packed Seventies musical devised by Andrew Lynford (EastEnders).

The Spirit of the Dance team will be presenting three nights of entertainment. On May 20 and 21 they will join forces with Ireland's Three Tenors (£18.50-£14.50, concs £1 off), while on July 3 (two shows) they will be bringing their new show, Broadway (same prices).

There'll be something a bit different on June 10, when Likely Lads star Rodney Bewes brings his charming one-man show based on Jerome K Jerome's comic classic Three Men In A Boat (£14.50-£10.50, concs £1).

An altogether more chilling evening is in prospect with the staging of Francis Durbridge's Fatal Encounter (April 27-30), promising plenty of twists. The same company (Bruce James Productions) is also bringing farce Holiday Snap from July 6-9. Tickets for either show £14.50-£9.50, with concs (and special ticket deals for these shows) available.

Other attractions include Back To The Good Old Days (April 16), Richard Digance (May 5), Sharon Neil (May 7), A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan (May 13), Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers (May 15), Wartime nostalgia shows Hits From The Blitz (June 11) and a 60th anniversary gala evening (July 10), The Russian Cossack State Dance Company (September 8) and Roll Out the Barrel (September 9).

Bookings and more information on 01502 533200.

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