Seaside Special Midnight Matinee
Pavilion Theatre, Cromer
While most of Cromer slept the comedy hardcore roared with laughter until 3.30am.
This was the second Midnight Matinee at the theatre and it got off to the best possible start with the dancers from the theatre's Seaside Special summer season strutting their stuff, particularly Kevin Archbold and Neil Scott Brodrick, whose muscles wowed the crowd during a topless performance of It's Raining Men. Brodrick's Chicago-style gangster-chic routine to Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, featuring the voices of himself and local singer Natasha Seale, almost stole the show.
Cromer-based Constantia Brothers gave the first rendition of Olympic Spartica, a track that had featured the previous day during the BBC's coverage of the Games; while the Blues and Twos, a group formed of workers at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, gave a thank-you performance for donations.
A particular crowd pleaser were the Mothers After Midnight. They performed three Edwardian-period numbers and looked like they were having a whale of a time.
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National performers Paul Hazel and Melissa Merran added a degree of showbiz glamour, the first performing songs from Rat Pack, the latter performing a daring acrobatic display on a drape hanging high above the stage.
The evening raised money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Cromer Carnival charities and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital arts project with tickets at £25.
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The stars of the show were, of course, the comedians. Jimmy Cricket gave the performance which his fans expect of him, but with material – save jokes at the expense of Paula Radcliffe and Mark Thatcher – that was largely familiar.
His funniest line was how he expected an OBE after acting like a scarecrow for six hours because he was out standing in his field.
But on the night it was Andy Ford, star of the Seaside Special, who was the real highlight.
His months in Cromer have done him the world of good, and he has now learned how to work to a Norfolk audience, who were in stitches almost every time he opened his mouth or performed one of his silly walks.
He and Cricket employ the same sort of family-friendly, stupid man humour with a surreal twist, but on Friday's showing the understudy has supplanted the master.