New season: Marina Theatre

David Wakefield Return visits by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a 40th anniversary tour of the evergreen Dad's Army, and a spectacular production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - just three of the highlights of the new season at Lowestoft Marina.

David Wakefield

Return visits by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a 40th anniversary tour of the evergreen Dad's Army, and a spectacular production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - just three of the highlights of the new season at Lowestoft Marina.

Comic legend Ken Dodd returns on April 19 (with more comedy on April 28 with the quickfire and edgy humour of Jimmy Carr).

Dad's Army (April 22-26), recreated for the stage, by arrangement with its originators, Jimmy Perry and David Croft, stars Leslie Grantham (EastEnders' Dirty Den) as Private Walker - the Cockney spiv character created by the late James Beck - plus a star-studded cast with all the favourites from the Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard platoon.

Shows are 7.30pm with 2.30 matinees on Wednesday and Saturday.

May 2 sees a visit of the Royal Philharmonic - the Marina's resident orchestra - for its spring concert (7.30pm). Conducted by Christopher Warren Green, the programme features Schubert's 8th Symphony (The Unfinished), Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto (soloist Sarah Beth Briggs) and Dvorak's 7th Symphony.

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The popular Barbara Dickson returns in concert (May 3, 7.30pm) on her 40th anniversary tour, and will be featuring songs from a long and illustrious stage career that includes the musical based on Willy Russell's Blood Brothers.

Opera lovers will be eagerly awaiting the visit of The Ukrainian National Opera of Odessa, presented by Ellen Kent and Opera International, who will be performing (May 8) Puccini's Madama Butterfly and (May 9) Verdi's La Traviata, featuring international soloists and a highly praised orchestra and chorus.

Both feature spectacular sets, and are sung in Italian. Buy tickets for both and save £5 per ticket.

Former Channel 4 soap Brookside stars Bernie Nolan and Sarah White star in Mum's The Word (May 14) - a story of five women and an hilarious look at motherhood.

Lowestoft Players' production (May 20-24) is Carousel - the evergreen Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that includes Britain's favourite football anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone.

From June 4-7, there's a touring production of Doctor In The House, adapted by Ted Willis from Richard Gordon's book. It follows the fledgling career of trainee doctor Simon Sparrow at St Swithin's teaching hospital. Eric Potts (of Coronation Street) stars.

June 11-14 sees a new adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's gripping Strangers on A Train.

It stars Hannah Waterman (EastEnders' Laura Beale) with Benjamin Roddy and Nick Barclay.

Zany comic and musical star Lee Evans (of The Producers fame) joins the Marina programme with two shows on June 9 and 10.

Popular ex-Yorkshire schools inspector Gervase Phinn returns with his hilarious tales for one night on June 18) and then, for three nights (June 19-21) All You Need Is Love features music of the 60s - the hits of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones among others. June 28 sees the Legends of Motown on stage, with the music of The Drifters.

The music of what's billed as the official Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by Ray McVay (June 29) features singer Joan Regan. Then there's the second visit (July 11) by the Royal Philharmonic with “Here Come The Classics”. This programme, a delightful selection of “pops”, includes the Light Cavalry Overture (Suppé), Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, Strauss' Blue Danube, and Sibelius' haunting Finlandia, all under the baton of Nicholas Cleobury.

There's a rare chance to see Sixties star Andy Fairweather Low in concert on Ju1y 12, whose stint with Amen Corner produced classics such as Bend Me Shape Me and (If Paradise is) Half As Nice.

The ever-popular Spirit Of The Dance brings breathtaking Irish dance to the stage on September 5 and 6. And the spirit of “rep” is evoked in Leslie Sands' Intent To Murder (September 11-13) - a suspense thriller with a plot twist at the end.

Angela Rippon comes to Lowestoft on September 14 to introduce a Tribute to Stephane Grappelli, with the great French jazz violinist's music being recreated by the Ralph Allin Quintet.

The Royal Phil returns on September 19 with an all-Tchaikovsky programme - including the Violin Concerto, the Sleeping Beauty suite and the Capriccio Italien (conductor Stephen Bell, soloist Tamsin Waley Cohen).

Along with this concert, the biggest attraction of the early autumn period is the visit of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (September 29-October 4). Starring Craig Chalmers as Joseph, this acclaimed Bill Kenwright production has won standing ovations all over the country.

The Don Cossacks State Dance Company, from Russia, comes to Lowestoft on its British tour (October 10); also from Russia is the Cirque de Glace, featuring the Ice Stars, in a brilliant new production which melds fire and ice! (November 5-9).

Billy Ocean (hits include When The Going Gets Tough) comes on November 11; then, something completely different on November 12, with veteran left-wing politician and former minister Tony Benn talking about his life. Expect some straight talk from a man who is definitely “Old” Labour!

A special pre-Christmas treat comes with a week's visit (November 25-29) of Buddy - The Musical, which has been playing for many years in the West End. It features all Buddy Holly's great numbers and always has its audiences dancing in the aisles!

There's lots more too - check out the website or brochure for details... and keep reading Event, of course.

t 01502 533200; www.marinatheatre.co.uk