New season: Princess Theatre

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor Event editor Trevor Heaton looks at the busy line-up at Hunstanton Princess Theatre.

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor

When the last thigh has been slapped and the final “he's behind you!” shouted out at Hunstanton Princess Theatre's panto on January 4, it'll signal a three-week break at the popular venue.

And then it'll be time for spring… well, the spring season anyway – and typically, it's another packed programme in store.

The Princess Theatre, perched overlooking the Wash, has built up a loyal following thanks to a crowd-pleasing formula mixing old favourites with new faces. And the new season promises more of the same, mixing music concerts, drama, dance, children's shows and film.


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The music side of things is as strong as ever. In fact, it's with one of the most popular tribute acts around – Abba soundalikes Voulez Vous – that the season officially opens on January 29.

Hi-energy Fifties nostalgia act At the Hop will be making a popular return on February 5, before things shoot forward a decade with Motown celebration Soul Explosion (February 12), starring Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and voice of the Foundations, Clem Curtis. The decade is also celebrated in The Ultimate 60s Show, which runs on April 23.

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Country music has long been associated with the Princess – its weekly summer shows are legendary – so it's no surprise that the genre features heavily in the new programme.

Raymond 'Froggie' Froggatt will be making his by-now traditional spring appearance, playing from April 29 to May 1.

Another Princess favourite – Sarah Jory – will be part of a new touring show, Red Hot Country (April 17) which also stars The Everlys Experience, Jamie Lovett, Wayne Denton and Ben Murphy. You will be taken from the classic country hits of Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline through to country rock hits by the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks.

There's more country goodies with Forever in Blue Jeans (March 27), Nashville Nights and Dixie Days (April 3) and Bill Conlon (March 20).

Big band fans will lap up two concert appearances, that of the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK on March 5, and the very popular East Anglian-based Jonathan Wyatt Big Band (April 24, with guest vocalist Olly Day) presenting the timeless music of Ted Heath, Duke Ellington and, of course, Glenn Miller with a repertoire that still gets your foot tapping.

More familiar faces making popular returns are Irish star Mary Duff (in concert on March 8), former Animals member Alan Price (February 13), plus Steve Steinman in the Meat Loaf Story (March 25-26). Now in its 13th year, this show charts the highs and lows of an illustrious career complete with songs from Meat Loaf's numerous albums.

Other “returnees” are Talon – Best of Eagles (February 27) and Mike Hall in Classic Clapton (March 19).

Other musical genres are represented by West End celebration Phantom and The Musicals (April 9) and the Viennese Strauss Gala (February 19).

The Best of British Music Hall (February 20) aims to present exactly that, with comics, speciality acts, singers and more. And while we're on the subject of comedy, The Grumbleweeds (March 28) will be celebrating an amazing 40 years in showbusiness in 2005.

Family treats include Circus Hilarious on February 18, then later in the season there is an adaptation of Mary Norton's The Borrowers (March 6). Presented by the excellent Snap Theatre Company, this children's favourite follows a family of tiny people who live behind the clock. As long as they are not seen by the human 'beans' they will be safe!

Drama lovers can look forward to Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (March 13). Brought to the stage by Norwich-based Transaction Theatre Company, Williams' autobiographical tale about his mother and sister, is set in St Louis during the 1930s depression.

A show making its first visit to the venue, Spirit of Ireland (March 12), was a big hit earlier this year at sister venue the King's Lynn Corn Exchange. Now it's time for Hunstanton audiences to enjoy this feast of Irish dance and music with ten dancers and five musicians.

The theatre will also be continuing its regular screenings of films too.

The new brochure is available from Monday. Call the box office 01485 532252 for details.

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