New season: Norwich Playhouse

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor Great comedy and musical favourites are the twin themes of the new season at Norwich Playhouse, says Event editor Trevor Heaton.

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor

If you only know Ardal O'Hanlon from the classic Father Ted or the so-so My Hero, then get set for the original, stand-up version of this great comic in one of the highlights of the new Norwich Playhouse season.

Ardal's show on September 30 (£15) sees the Irish comic go back to his stand-up roots with a new show full of surreal flights of fancy and acute observations on the follies of man and the modern world.

And there's no doubting the other comedy hot ticket of the new season at the St George's Street venue - the return of the brilliant Nimmo Twins.


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Once again their December season has been extended because of public demand. Normal for Norfolk 10: Topless Mardling runs from December 6-23 (not Sundays) and will feature that famous trademark Nimmos humour. £15 (£12 concs)

Star of umpteen radio comedy shows, Mitch Benn is a brilliant musical parodist and he'll be bringing his The Distractions group (Kirsty Newton and Tash Baylis) on October 14. All tickets £10

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And there's more music/comedy laughs with the return of an old Playhouse favourite in a new guise on October 28.

Barry Cryer, one of Britain's greatest gag merchants, is teaming up with Ronnie Golden in Unplugged, their sell-out Edinburgh Festival show. All tickets £16.50.

Stewart Lee (October 18) - co-writer of Fist of Fun, Alan Partridge and Jerry Springer - The Opera, presents his acclaimed Edinburgh show at the Playhouse. £12, concs £10.

Camp, kitsch and not a little rude, 'Pam Ann' stars in air hostess spoof Flying High! (November 2), direct from sell-out seasons at London's Bloomsbury and Soho Theatres and an arena tour with Cher. Tickets £12 (£10 concs).

The following two nights brings a modern take on one of the wittiest plays ever written, when the Ridiculusmus presents The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

The duo of Jon Haynes and David Woods offer a play the entire cast in a subversive version of the classic comedy.

Tickets £12 (£10 concs).

Two of the edgiest stand-ups around join forces over two nights at the Playhouse (November 22-23). Robert Newman and Mark Thomas specialise in satirical, biting comedy with a political edge.

Tickets £15 (£12 concs).

Comic treats galore, then - but the other great strand of Playhouse seasons is not forgotten.

Music - especially jazz - remains an essential part of the programme.

On September 17 local promoter Christopher Bailey presents An Evening of Jazz and Cabaret in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer with Earl Okin, Louise Rutkowski, the Simon Brown Quartet, Richard Shelton, Alex Giannini, Jason Pennycooke, John Morton, Tracy Mepham and more. All tickets £15.

More jazz on October 7 with Tim Garland's Dean Street Underground Orchestra plus Lighthouse Trio playing arrangements of jazz and big band classics. £14 (£12 concs)

Beatles fans should come along on October 8 to see (and hear) Come Together - Right Now, starring Johnny Silver as John Lennon.

The multimedia concert sees Silver delivers Lennon's best-loved solo works from Cold Turkey to Woman in an affectionate tribute. Tickets £13 (£11 concs).

Afro-American jazz and Afro-Caribbean steel pan band genres are fused brillliantly on October 15 with Dennis Rollins and North Stars Steel Orchestra in their Molten Metal: The Brass and Steel Tour. £12 (£10 concs)

More jazz on October 29 with the return visit of the brilliant Stacey Kent and her musicians with more smooth-as-silk renditions of the Great American Songbook.

Tickets £15 (£12 concs).

And there's a treat for classical fans on November 17-18 when Phoenix Opera presents Pure Puccini, a selection of some of the best-loved arias of all time. All tickets £10, with proceeds donated to local charities

Then on November 19 it's the turn of the hugely-acclaimed Claire Martin and her musicians, presenting songs from her acclaimed jazz CD Secret Love and her other nine albums. £12 (£10 concs).

December wouldn't be December without the annual visit of the legendary George Melly. He'll be back on December 3, once again in the company of Digby Fairweather and his Half Dozen. Tickets £15 (£12 concs) will be demand, as usual.

Aside from music and comedy, there's plenty of other attractions.

They include Love&Madness' Twelfth Night (September 20 and 22) and Wuthering Heights (September 21), while Simply Magic's Sleight of Mind (October 1) an family-friendly evening of mental manipulation that will challenge your senses. £9 (£7 concs), £25 (family, two + two).

Daniel Defoe's classic tale of adventure and debauchery Moll Flanders is given a workover by physical theatre specialists Kaos Theatre on October 5 and 6. Tickets £12 (£10 concs).

Making maths fun is the aim of The Calculating Mr One (October 7, two shows). Help Jeremiah Bloodhound, probably Britain's worst private detective, solve the mystery in a show aimed at ages seven to 11.

On October 12-13, there's a production by learning disabled company Mind The Gap of John Steinbeck's poignant drama Of Mice and Men. Tickets £10 (£8 concs).

Then on November 5, the Amici Dance Theatre Company, which unites able-bodied and disabled artists and performers in improvisation and creative dance, presents a double bill. Tickets £7 (£5 concs).

More dance on November 12 when the Darkin Ensemble presents Hotel, choreographed by Jerwood Award nominee Fleur Darkin.

Tickets £10 (£8 concs) £6.

On December 2 there's the return of Celebrity Flowers: Live with Mig Kimpton. Tickets £12.50 (£10.50 concs)

Bookings and more information from the Playhouse box office at Norwich Theatre Royal on 01603 598598.

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