Review and photo gallery: Cromer Pier Seaside Special

Cromer Seaside Special 2013 - Abba routine.

Cromer Seaside Special 2013 - Abba routine. - Credit: Archant

Seaside Special

Cromer Seaside Special 2013. Dain Cordean

Cromer Seaside Special 2013. Dain Cordean - Credit: Archant

Cromer Pier

There is nothing more traditional for a summer day out than a trip to the British seaside and its end-of-the-pier entertainment.

But just as bathing machines and one piece swimsuits have been replaced by surfboards and bikinis, the face of Cromer's summer show is also moving with the times.

The latest show has the salty, saucy, sassy mix of comedy, song, dance and speciality acts that has been its hallmark for 30 years.

But this year it is different - a seaside knickerbocker glory of colour and fun, but with an extra scoop of comedy, and sets that owe more to a slick cabaret venue than a seafront variety hall.

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The opening show, Variety Dotcom, is loosely themed on communications through the ages, which sparks routines from wartime swing linked to the Bletchley Park codebreakers, to a tap routine based on mobile phone texting.

The ever-creative deviser Di Cooke's brilliance shines through when a magic routine with a floating chrome ball morphs seamlessly into a ballet using glowing moons - all behind a curtain of falling bubbles.

The show is delivered by a cast led by returnee headliner Dain Cordean, who combines his warm comedy compere role with some impressive illusions including levitating and cutting up the dancing girls.

His sidekick Jo Little majors on her role as an edgy northern club style comedienne with a machine gun magazine full of gags but also has a strong singing voice.

The extra comic is impressionist Danny Posthill who brings a bevy of other characters with him including Billy Connolly, Frank Carson, John Bishop, and Alan Carr - and is funny in hisown right too.

Aussie singer David Jon O'Neill is one of the best vocalists to grace the show in recent years. His version of Bruno Mars' When I Was Your Man was one of the highlights, but he also showed a warm rapport and ready wit that will win over summer audiences.

There are still the 'old testament' all-singing and dancing production numbers - Abba and Robbie Williams this time - along with daft slapstick to keep the core audience happy with a more familiar diet.

It is given the usual glitz by the crisp sets and costumes along with the aah factor of youngsters from Marlene's School of Dance.

But this new look show is evolving a popular seaside institution to ensure it has a future as enduring as the pier around it and not as transitory as the sandcastles below.

Richard Batson

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