REVIEW: Cromer Seaside Special
Summer shows have come and gone at Cromer Pier with the regularity of the seasons and the tides, slowly evolving over the years in a bid to keep up to date.
This year's Seaside Special has taken a bigger leap forward, with a new look single theme gluing the string of variety acts together.
New York is the setting for the opening show, providing the backdrop for jazz dancing flappers from the 1920s prohibition era, through to the basketball playing, cheerleading modern day.
And it provides the comics with rich gag material comparing the 'city that never sleeps' with Cromer ' the town that likes to have a nap.'
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Headlining comedy ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, returning to the pier after his successful first summer season in 2007, once again provides a masterclass which combines a slick script and technique with a ready ad lib wit and superb comic timing.
As well as old favourite puppet Arthur Lager, the 'hunk from the trunk' with a plastic eye for the ladies, and the cute squeaky Elmo he introduces a New York character in Jackson J whose dangling legs come to life in a clever screen routine.
Cheeky, chummy support comic Paul Adams' brand of everyday life humour adds to the mix and makes it a strong comedy offering this season.
Speciality act Bike MagiX - Hungarian Casba Bozso - provided a wow factor with his balancing the spinning skills on a BMX bike on the tiny stage.
Vocals come from the former TV Any Dream Will Do hopeful Rob McVeigh, whose smooth voice - shown to good effect with Michael Buble's song Home, and looks will woo the ladies, with Scarlet Gabriel's soulful tones best heard in Alicia Keys' Empire State of Mind.
A six strong troupe of dancers as usual work hard with routines ranging from a Rhapsody in Blue ballet to energetic High School Musical.
There was a slightly slow start, some opening night timing, tuning and clunkiness issues, and sometimes the main singers were swamped by the canned backing music. But with two of the dancers and the bike act having only been added at the 11th hour, the show was once more a triumph for deviser Di Cooke and musical director Nigel Hogg - and got a standing ovation at the final curtain from an audience which included local star actor John Hurt.
People who think Cromer pier show is 'the same old thing every year' should have a look at the new look version and think again. This version set in Big Apple certainly has the 'cor factor. Start spreading the news.
?The show runs until September 24 with an alternating Radio Waves-themed version starting on July 2.