Preview: Seven cultural events not to miss in the next seven days

The Magnificent Bearded Lady, poignant, moving, off-kilter show in Bungay

The Magnificent Bearded Lady, poignant, moving, off-kilter show in Bungay - Credit: Archant

From a moving, off-kilter show about a bearded lady to a radical staging of Richard III, Christmas classics with Blake and a visit from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. SIMON PARKIN picks cultural highlights over the next seven days.


• The Magnificent Bearded Lady

Fisher Theatre, Bungay, November 25, 7.30pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01986 897130,

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Dame Nature is a bearded lady who has been looking after her facial furniture for as long as she can remember. And she just can't stop combing over the past. Once the star of the show, now she spends her days in the depths of her dressing room contemplating the fading roar of the crowd, lost love and the merits of Phil Collins' solo work.

Join her on a backstage tour of some of life's big questions, taking a hilarious, heartfelt and hairy look at a world where, unfortunately for her, it's not what's on the inside that counts. A poignant, moving, off-kilter show full of stories and characters from Lady Havoc Theatre, for people who don't like to judge a woman by her beard!

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• Getting On

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, until November 26, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Nov 26, £12-£8, 01603 620917,

The Maddermarket Theatre tackles Alan Bennett's witty comedy, which , dating back to 1971, is among the earliest full-length plays of his prolific career. It's a North London flat, home to MP George Oliver and his wife Polly (excellent performances by Trevor Burton and Fiona Fletcher). The MP is so self-absorbed he fails to see his wife is having an affair with the handyman Geoff (Conor Swords). George just gets wound up about topics like the ineptitude of the local taxi company. Polly has more meaningful conversations with gay MP Brian Lowther (Jon Young) and her free-spirited mother Enid (Merle Colborne) than ever with her husband. Under Jen Dewsbury's direction it goes at a nice brisk pace, punctuated with laughter at Bennett's wonderful wit.


• Sensational 60s Experience

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, November 27, 7.30pm, £27.75, 01502 533200,

Back by popular demand, 1960s hit packed extravaganza featuring nostalgic songs performed by seven legendary names including Herman's Hermits, Chris Farlowe, New Amen Corner, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Fortunes, The Ivy League and Alan Mosca from Freddie and The Dreamers. It's a hit-packed line-up crammed with musical nostalgia with songs sure to get an airing including I'm Into Something Good, Something Is Happening, Hippy Hippy Shake, The Crying Game, That's Why I'm Crying, Funny How Love Can Be and You Were Made For Me.

Nostalgic galore.


• Richard III

The Shoe Factory Social Club, St Mary's Works, Oak Street, Norwich, until December 3 (Not Nov 27/28), 7.30pm £8 (£7 cons),

Norfolk's Crude Apache Theatre Company's new production that radically updates Shakespeare's bloody and violent masterpiece Richard III. Ever inventive, the company have reset the tale in the present day, amidst the homeless and dispossessed in an urban cardboard city environment. It is being performed at Norwich's newest arts centre, The Shoe Factory Social Club. In the decaying remains of this disused shoe factory, the company will plunge the audience into a post-industrial dystopian setting for this dark tale of treachery, deceit and murder. The play tells of a war between two venal houses, fighting each other over nothing, but fighting with an all consuming passion. Russell Turner, a long standing member of the company takes the titular role.


• Christmas Classics with Blake

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, November 29, 7.30pm, £20.75 (£18.75), 01502 533200,

Brit-Award winning vocalists Blake bring their long awaited debut Christmas show, featuring festive songs in beautiful trio harmony, video projections and plenty of the group's famous fast-paced comedy banter. During this stage spectacular they will be performing an eclectic range of Yuletide songs, taken from their debut festive album. Since the group formed in 2007, Blake have become a regular fixture on the Christmas TV schedules, including festive song performances on BBC Breakfast, This Morning, The One Show, Alan Titchmarsh Show and Songs of Praise. Combining their highly requested favourites with this new tour show, they will no doubt fill the Marina Theatre with early festive cheer.


• Johnny Cash Roadshow

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, November 30, 7.30pm, £20, 01284 758000,

The spirit of the late, great Man in Black is alive and 'kicking like a mule' with this celebration of the iconic legend by the Carter/Cash endorsed Johnny Cash Roadshow. Respected singer/songwriter Clive John, with The Spirit Band, attempt to capture the musical essence of what it was like to be at a real Johnny Cash show, with Jill Schoonjans as June Carter and two more talented ladies as the Carter Sisters. All aspects of Cash's life are covered, including Ring of Fire, Walk the Line as well as the Johnny and June duets Jackson and If I Were a Carpenter. The band includes Martin Bentley (bass), Nick Davis (guitars) and Darren Bazzoni (drums), with backing vocals by Louise Masters and Amanda Stone.


• Evening with Carol Ann Duffy

St Michaels Church, Aylsham, December 1, 6.30pm, £15, £12 under-18s, 01603 219268,

The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be reading from collections spanning her whole career in the beautiful parish church of Aylsham, and with the humour and charm which are the hallmarks of her public appearances she will once again remind us of the importance that poetry can play in all our lives. She will be joined by the musician John Sampson who travels with a collection of wired and wonderful instruments. Together they will present a show which is by turns uplifting, touching and hugely entertaining. A perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit! Carol Ann will sign books, which will be for sale, after the reading. Book now to avoid disappointment.

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