Pier show offers the mini season treatment

Richard BatsonChildren are to get a taste of Cromer's popular pier show this summer - with a new mini-season aimed at youngsters.The main Seaside Special show opens in just over a week's time.Richard Batson

Children are to get a taste of Cromer's popular pier show this summer - with a new mini-season aimed at youngsters.

The main Seaside Special show opens in just over a week's time. But five Friday matinees in mid summer will also see the show cast perform a 45-minute special geared to an age range of six to early teens.

School's Out - It's Showtime will include songs from the musical Hairspray, and tunes from chart-toppers such as Duffy and Alesha Dixon, as well the magic and comedy.

The production is being put together by dancers Aby Kate and Andy Young - with some members of the audience getting a chance to join the action on stage.

Aby explained: 'It is a fast-paced show aimed at introducing children to live variety.'

Youngest cast member Luke Cook - a 17-year-old magician from Lowestoft who won his place in the cast by winning an EDP-backed Find a Star competition - said it was a great idea because children did not often get a chance to see such acts in a theatre setting.

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The main show - the longest running end of the pier show in the UK at 32 years - is currently in rehearsal for opening night on June 20, and sees a familiar face as headlining comic.

Keith Simmons has appeared in the Special four times before, in 1979, and three seasons in a row from 1996-98, with his brother Alan. He is back as a new double act with son Ben, but is including some old favourite routines such as his hallmark 'stairs' routine.

'There is nothing else like the Cromer show, with its intimate theatre, range of acts and great audiences,' he said.

Show devisor Di Cooke said this summer's season would include music ranging from Ivor Novello to Elton John, as well as a routine from Oliver.

The cast is also bolstered by tenor Aston Dobson, soprano Victoria Scott, ukele player Andy Eastwood and the Seaside Special dancers.

A sample of the show was staged in Cromer's parish hall yesterday before the cast boarded a 1966 Routemaster bus to head down the pier to resume rehearsals. The show has a new ticket offer link with First East England to promote showgoers using public transport.

Seaside Special opens on Saturday June 20 and runs Tuesday to Saturday (8pm) until September 19. Matinees - 2.30pm Tuesday to Thursday and 4pm Saturday - begin on July 7.

School's Out It's Show Time opens on Friday July 31 with performances on August 7, 14, 28 and September 4 at 3pm.

Information and tickets through the box office on 01263 512495 or visit www.cromer-pier.com