Review: Steve Hewlett, Cromer Pier

Steve Hewlett, Cromer Pier with Simon Cowell. Picture; DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS

Steve Hewlett, Cromer Pier with Simon Cowell. Picture; DAVE 'HUBBA' ROBERTS - Credit: Archant

Steve Hewlett and friends

Cromer pier

Appearances on TV's Britain's Got Talent show propelled Steve Hewlett to national fame last year.

But Cromer piergoers knew about his ventriloquism skills long before that - and were reunited with them last night.

It is 10 years since he took the summer show by storm as sidekick to headliner Tucker - returning in 2011 to top the bill.

Back on those same boards for one night on his Thinking Inside the Box tour he was quick to tell the audience that Cromer is where his honed his act and remained a special place for him.

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Trading on his BGT success as a wild card finalist he brought out the Simon Cowell and Sinitta dolls that provided TV gold moments - but with updates. Simon had his new baby strapped to his chest.

And in the self-mocking way that is also Hewlett's endearing hallmark he kept making fun of the fact he came fourth.

Steve's act is part technical vent brilliance - with one doll heckling another from the box on stage or his bottle of water pleading with him not to drink it - and part sharp topical comedy.

The grouchy dirty old man Arthur Lager and smutty skunk Pongo remain crowd favourites- while the cute little blue dog Chii Chii looks set to have the Ah Factor.

The Keith Melon (Lemon) doll seemed a bit out of tune with a Cromer pier audience.

And a series of quick fire cameo dolls midway through the second half also faltered a little in places compared with some of the stronger material in the show - though I say that through gritted teeth, just like Steve, because the man and his hand remain a top variety cabaret act.

He is supported on this tour by the excellent 'unspeakable' silent magician Richard Griffin.

The tour finishes in Yarmouth on August 3 for those wanting to watch a master craftsman at work.

Richard Batson

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